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The 2013 Planning Appeal

21 April 2014 - Horkesley Park Appeal Result (pdf 18Kb)
 By now most of you will be aware that the Appeal by Buntings for Horkesley Park has been refused by the Secretary of State in his letter of 16th April 2014. In this letter he supports the recommendation of the Inspector following the Public Inquiry in October 2013. The Inspector’s recommendation is given in an extensive document dated February 12th 2014. In summary, the reasons for refusal are:

  1. The site is unsustainable and would be reliant on private cars for the vast majority of visitors. This could not be off-set by the provision of additional public transport. It is contrary to local policy in this crucial respect
  2. The change of use of the land, the addition of the Chinese Garden, the enclosure of the parking area and the loss of tranquility would adversely affect the special landscape character and qualities of the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley AONB. In several places the documents make it clear that the Application does not meet the criteria of the key Colchester Development Plan Policy DP22 which gives very specific protection to the AONB.
  3. The Chinese Garden would be an inappropriate addition and would inevitably harm the significance of the Grade II listed Chantry and its setting. It would be inconsistent with Local Policy in this respect.

We are of course delighted with the outcome of the Appeal and must thank all our members and the other organisations including the Dedham Vale Society, the Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society, the Colne Stour Countryside Association, the Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project, CPRE Essex, Suffolk Preservation Society, Little Horkesley Parish Council, Nayland Parish Council and many others for their unstinting support over the thirteen years of this and previous Planning Applications for the site.

Buntings have the right to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State in the High Court within six weeks of the decision and it remains to be seen whether or not they will exercise this right.

Let us hope we can now put Horkesley Park behind us.

6 January 2014 - Horkesley Park Appeal Current Status (pdf 19Kb)
We last wrote to you in October 2013 following the Public Inquiry indicating that the Inspector would make his recommendation to the Secretary of State early in 2014. We have recently been advised that the Secretary of State will announce his decision on or before May 6th 2014. We could therefore have several months to wait until we hear the outcome.
As most of you will be aware, there was a major development in the fortunes of Bunting and Sons in the middle of October in that the Bank of Scotland, as their main creditor, applied to the Courts to have the partnership put into administration. Further details are included in the newsletter.

6 October 2013 - The Planning Inquiry (pdf 31Kb)
The Planning Inquiry into the appeal by Buntings against the decision reached by Colchester Borough Council to reject their Planning Application for Horkesley Park was held from October 1st to 4th in the Langham Community Centre and on site. Details of the process and representations are included in the newsletter.
The Appeal is a Recovered Appeal which means that the Inspector will make his recommendation known only to the Secretary of State who will decide the outcome. This decision will be made known early in 2014. We cannot pre-judge this decision but the fact that Buntings relied only on written Proofs and were not open to cross-examination will not have helped their case.
Finally I would like to thank so many people for giving up their time to support us at the Inquiry. The Inspector cannot fail to have noticed the weight of public opinion against the Appeal.

27 September 2013 - Planning Inquiry (pdf 27Kb)
Further to our Newsletter of September 5th 2013, there has been a major change in the Inquiry programme. Buntings have notified the Inspectorate that they will rely on their written ‘Proofs’ only and will not be represented at the Inquiry.

5 September 2013 - Planning Inquiry (pdf 19Kb)
Further to our Newsletter of 5th July 2013, the Public Inquiry is now less that a month away. We must demonstrate the strong level of local objection, which was so crucial at the Planning Committee meeting in February.
SVAG has submitted its Proof of Evidence and this is available to view here and on the Council website.

4 July 2013 - Pre Inquiry Meeting (PIM) on June 27th (pdf 20Kb)
The Pre Inquiry Meeting (PIM) took place on June 27th in Colchester Town Hall. We attended this meeting on behalf of SVAG. The Meeting was conducted by the appointed Inspector, Mr Colin Ball who set out the timetable for the Inquiry.The Inquiry will take place in Langham Community Centre except for the last two or three days which will take place in Colchester Town Hall. There will also be an extensive site visit. Click to view a copy of the Inspector’s notes of this meeting - this shows that a day and a half has been allocated for third party objectors including SVAG.

23 May 2013 - Meeting 22nd May - Minutes of the Meeting (pdf 23Kb)
A meeting was held in Little Horkesley Village Hall on May 22nd for SVAG Members and other supporters to review the status of the Bunting Appeal against the decision of Colchester Borough Council to reject Planning Application No 120965 for Horkesley Park. The meeting was attended by about 100 people.

10 May 2013 - Meeting 22nd May Little Horkesley Village Hall 7.30pm (pdf 15Kb)
The Committee has decided to call a meeting in Little Horkesley Village Hall on May 22nd at 7.30pm.

30 April 2013 - Bunting's Appeal ref AAP/A1530/A/13/2195924 (pdf 19Kb)
I am sure you are aware that above Appeal has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) by Buntings. If you wrote previously to the Council, you will have received a letter from the Council advising you of this and the actions you can take. Your original letter or e-mail to the Council will have been sent to PINS and this will be considered as part of the process. It is however very important that PINS knows the level of public concern that still exists about the outcome of the Public Inquiry that will result from this Appeal.


The 2011 Planning Application

5 March 2013 - Horkesley Park (pdf 16Kb)
As advised in our earlier e-newsletter of March 1st, I am sure that you will have seen by now that the application 120965 for the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park was rejected by a majority of 10 to 4 at the Planning Committee Meeting on February 28th. The meeting was held in the Charter Hall in Colchester and attracted over 400 people, the vast majority of whom were wearing yellow “No” stickers.

1 March 2013 - Horkesley Park - Appication Refused (pdf 16Kb)
We are delighted to announce that the Councillors on the Planning Committee refused Application 120965 at the Planning Committee Meeting last night on a 10 to 4 majority.

Thank you for your support throughout this campaign.

25 February 2013 - Planning Meeting - This Thursday (pdf 16Kb)
The Council's Planning Committee Meeting to decide Application 120965 will take place this Thursday 28th February at 6:00pm.

13 February 2013 - Formal representations to the Council (pdf 18Kb)
Please find following SVAG's formal representations to CBC in relation to application 120965.  These were hand delivered to the Planning Office on Friday 8th February and are now publicly available on the CBC Planning Website.
1)  SVAG's covering letter   
2)  Planning Policy Review prepared by Pomery Planning Consultants on behalf of SVAG
3)  SVAG's assessment of the Viability Issues
4)  Mark Lowe QC - Legal Advice on behalf of  SVAG

A selection of the most notable letters can be found on the "Horkesley Park Key Issues" page of the revised SVAG website.

29 January 2013 - Representations to the Council (pdf 17Kb)
Many thanks again to all those who have kindly written to the Council to express their objections for the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park. Thank you also to those of you who have helped to keep our campaign in the public eye with letters to the Press. We continue to receive generous contributions towards our legal costs for which we are extremely grateful.

24 January 2013 - Update (pdf 20Kb)
We would like to extend our thanks to all supporters who have kindly contributed to our campaign.  We can assure you that this money will be used largely to cover our legal expenses at this critical stage of our campaign, as declared in our newsletter and at our meeting.  Further donations will be gladly received - thank you in anticipation.

19 January 2013 - SVAG Meeting  (pdf 51Kb
A meeting was held in Little Horkesley Village Hall on January 16th to discuss the current situation regarding Horkesley Park. The level of interest in the meeting showed the level of concern over the current situation. Over 120 people turned out on the coldest night of the year –minus 7C outside!
There was very extensive discussion on all the issues, very ably assisted by the SVAG consultant, Mr Robert Pomery.
Will Pavry gave a very brief overview of the three consultant reports; The Britton McGrath reports,
Vectos and Nathaniel Lichfield. In conclusion, and said that the planning officers were making a recommendation for approval in the face of advice to the contrary from all their experts. He said that SVAG was taking leading professional advice and that this would require further funds. This was reinforced by the Treasurer, Carolynn Pisarro. She indicated a need for a further £10,000.
If you are prepared to contribute to our costs, please send cheques to Stour Valley Action Group to The Walnut Tree, Little Horkesley, Colchester CO6 4DG. Alternatively make a Bank Transfer to: Barclays, Account no 10332712, Sort code 20-41-50. We really appreciate any support you can give.

8 January 2013 - SVAG Meeting (pdf 51Kb)
The date for the Planning Meeting to determine the Horkesley Park Applications is now February 28th 2013 in the Charter Hall in Colchester. We are calling a meeting for SVAG supporters and objectors to Horkesley Park on: January 16th at 7 pm in Little Horkesley Village Hall.

24 December 2012 - HORKESLEY PARK  -  Planning Meeting Date (pdf 19Kb)
We understand that the Planning Services 'balanced recommendation will be favourable'. We fail to understand how they have reached this conclusion particularly in view of the conclusions in their own Planning Policy department's report. This report is now on the Colchester Borough Council website (dated 21 Dec Policy Response) and refers to consultant reports from Britton McGrath, Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners and Vectos which have not  been published for reasons we do not understand.

11 October 2012 - The latest status of the Horkesley Park Application No: 120965 (pdf 19Kb)
There have been over 760 letters of objection which are on the Colchester Borough Council website.
Bunting’s Consultants, Collins and Coward Ltd, submitted a document to the Council dated September 2012 seeking to reject the objections raised by the objectors.  We do not accept their findings and have sent in a further response dated October 5th 2012Pomery Planning Consultants have also written refuting the criticisms made against their findings.

4 July 2012 - SVAG Meeting (pdf 143Kb)
Over 100 members of the Stour Valley Action Group attended a meeting in Little Horkesley Village Hall on July 4th to discuss opposition to the latest Bunting Application.

12 June 2012 - The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park Application No: 120965 (pdf 84Kb)
The latest Application for Horkesley Park has now been published on the Colchester Borough Council web-site. In our view it is entirely unacceptable and continues to have many of the objectionable features of all the previous Applications. Our main objections and a summary of the main features of the Application are given in this newsletter.

16 May 2012 - Summary of new proposal for Horkesley Park (pdf 21Kb)
We encourage those that were unable to attend Bunting and Sons' consultation exhibition in Great Horkesley on May 10th/11th to take the time to review the details on line to form your own opinion on the impact that this latest scheme will have. Having attended the consultation we believe that the main points of the new Horkesley Park proposal will probably be as summarised in this newsletter.

27 April 2012 - New Horkesley Park Planning Application (pdf 17Kb)
We have received an e-mail from Buntings dated April 25th 2012 advising us of their next Application. We strongly advise you to visit the presentation so that you can form your own views and make any comments to them that you think appropriate.

The 2009 Planning Application

June 2011 - The Council's Decision (pdf 74Kb)
I am sure that by now you all know that the Horkesley Park Planning Application number 090231 submitted by Buntings in February 2009 was refused by the Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee at their meeting on May 26th. The Councillors voted 11 – 1 for refusal at the end of a very long and interesting meeting.
Thank you all for everything you have done over the years to help everybody achieve this magnificent result !

27 April 2011 - Important dates for your diary (pdf 17Kb)
There will be meeting at 7.30pm on May 11th in Little Horkesley Village Hall. There will be a walk across public footpaths on the site of Horkesley Park on Sunday May 15th at 11.00am starting from London Road. Town Hall meeting: May 26th!!

14 April 2011 - URGENT!! URGENT!! URGENT!! (pdf 21Kb)
Your letters to the Council are due by April 19th. If you have not already done so, please write or e-mail now!!!

The Stour Valley Action Group response to this letter is also available here.

6 April 2011 - Horkesley Park Application 090231 (pdf 48Kb)
Colchester Borough Council has now sent letters dated 29th March 2011 to all who originally wrote concerning the HP Application. They invite comment on recent documents on the CBC web site:

Other equally professional consultants and bodies come to very different conclusions to those of Sykes both in respect of visitor numbers and revenues:
Nathaniel Lichfield, the Council’s own Strategy Policy and Regeneration (SP&R) Department, Visitor Attraction Consultants and The Budenberg Eddis report.

21 March 2011 - Planning Committee Meeting date announced: 26th May (pdf 43Kb)
An announcement has been made that the Horkesley Park Planning Application will be decided at a meeting of the Planning Committee on:
May 26th at 6.00pm, in Colchester Town Hall

27 January 2011 - Recent Documents concerning Horkesley Park (pdf 140Kb)
Three important documents have recently come into the Public Domain concerning Horkesley Park. These are: Update on comments on Horkesley Park (application 090231) from Strategic Policy and Regeneration (SP&R), Savell Bird & Axon, Horkesley Park Planning Application Review, Natural England letter to CBC.

10 October 2010 - Status of Horkesley Park Application No 090231 (pdf 143Kb)
SVAG’s position regarding the Horkesley Park Application is fully set out in our letter to Colchester Borough Council of April 17th 2009. The Council has received 1307 well reasoned letters and e-mails of objection compared with only 445 letters and e-mails of support. Organisations to object include Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Joint Advisory Committee, Dedham Vale Society, CPR Essex, Suffolk Preservation Society, English Heritage, Natural England, National Trust, Gainsborough’s House Museum, Colne Stour Association, Soil Association, Nayland with Wissington Conservation Society, Essex Ramblers, Babergh District Council, Parish Councils of Great Horkesley, Little Horkesley, Nayland with Wissington, Boxted, Stoke-by-Nayland, Leavenheath, Alphamstone and Lamarsh.

25 March 2010 - Be Prepared to Repel Horkesley Park!!! (pdf 29Kb)
We need YOU at the Council hearing to demonstrate to Councillors how strong the opposition is.
Make sure we have your e-mail address by writing to:

3 March 2010 - Horkesley Park Application No 090231 nears boiling point! (pdf 30Kb)
Since I last wrote to you in December there have been a number of developments concerning Horkesley Park.
In order to prepare for this, we have decided to call a Meeting of SVAG membership and others who are in opposition to the Horkesley Park Proposal.
We very much hope that you will be able to come and give us your full support. After nearly nine years it looks as if the whole issue is finally coming to a head!

3 February 2010 - Developments on the Application (pdf 20KB)
We have been advised that Colchester Borough Council has appointed Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) as Consultants to assist them with consideration of various aspects of the Horkesley Park Proposal including the Retail Statement, the Socio Economic statement and the Tourism Business Case.

15 December 2009 - There remains no date to hear this Application as Buntings still have not submitted the information required (pdf 24Kb)
Colchester Borough Council Planning Office are still waiting for answers to questions raised by the Highways Agency in May 2009 and various other issues raised by the CBC. We have written to all Councillors on the Planning Committee again to remind them of the key issues about which we are concerned. A copy of this letter is available here (pdf 28Kb)

1 November 2009 - There is still no date to hear this Application (pdf 21KB)
I last wrote to you in September on the Horkesley Park developments. Since then there have been very few developments in the public domain.
We continue to keep in close touch with the Colchester Borough Council Planning Office.

18 September 2009 - No date set for hearing the Application. (pdf 20Kb)
There has not been much to report on the Horkesley Park developments for some weeks but we continue to be very active on your behalf.

1 May 2009 - The deadline for letters to CBC is now past. The planning department are preparing their planning report for Councillors. (pdf 34Kb)
Thank you all for your hard work in the last few weeks.The deadline for letters to CBC is now passed. We have had a very successful poster campaign.
SVAG’s own detailed letter of objection can now be read on our website Objections 2009 page. South Suffolk MP, Tim Yeo, has also come out forcefully against the Application and has requested that it be ‘Called In’ for determination by the Secretary of State. We are also informed that Bernard Jenkin, MP for North Essex will seek to get the Application ‘called in’.

6 March 2009 - New planning application for Horkesley Park Heritage and Conservation Centre
(pdf 137Kb)

Bunting and Sons have re-submitted their Planning Application, number 090231, for their London Road site for the fourth time since April 2001. This Newsletter sets out the chief issues as we see them and some key facts from the Application.
You have a right to see the Proposal in full at the CBC offices in Angel Court, High St Colchester. You can also see details on the Colchester Borough Council website on and you can request a copy on CD for which you will have to pay.

The 2007 Planning Application

1 November 2007 - Status of planning applications (pdf 24Kb)
1 Recent Applications: Brewery and mobile homes for permanent accommodation.
2 Status on Horkesley Park proposal.

23 September 2007 - Buntings recent applications (pdf 31Kb)
Buntings have submitted retrospective Planning Applications for two of their activities on the London Road site that have been on-going for some time; Mobile homes for Permanent Accommodation and Pitfield micro-brewery.

Buntings lost their appeal against a decision by the Babergh District Council in July 2006 requiring them to remove lighting from the Anchor Inn. In their appeal Buntings indicated that they needed the lighting to attract passing trade. Would the same apply to Horkesley Park?

20 April 2007– Buntings announce a series of ‘consultation’ events (pdf 25Kb)
Rosenthal Lecture: In association with the Nayland and Wiston Conservation Society, we are holding a lecture in Nayland Village Hall on Thursday,May 17th at 7.30pm entitled: "Who owns Constable's Country". After six years of existence, this will be our first fundraising event.
e-mail: We are trying to build up our e-mail data base for speed and cost of communication. Please send your e-mail to and we will add you to our list.
Widen the message: Please let your friends and acquaintances see this letter and encourage them to join us. This letter and all our information and how to join is on our web site at

24 February 2007– Buntings will re-submit again (pdf 28Kb)
Buntings have told us that they are nearly ready to re-submit their planning application for the Horkesley Park Heritage and Conservation Centre.
SVAG now has in place village co-ordinators throughout the Stour valley who will be distributing leaflets and posters and we would ask you to help in distributing and displaying these resources.

October 2006 – Latest situation (pdf 10Kb)
A meeting of SVAG members was held in Great Horkesley Village Hall on September 19th 2006 attended by over 120 people from all surrounding villages. Strong opposition for the plans continues to be expressed from a very wide cross-section of the community.

10 April 2006 – Buntings withdraw again (pdf 38Kb)
Bunting’s Application withdrawn on the basis that ‘they want to do further work’. Any re-submitted Application will be treated as a new Application and will therefore be subject to the same consultation process as the September 2005 Application and under a new number.
is includes Highlights of the 2005/6 SVAG campaign. This is a thorough summary of the previous campaign and we encourage you to look at the full text.