The Colonnades planning decision

There was much relief among Empire residents on the evening of Wednesday February 11th when the Development Control Committee at the Guildhall turned down the council’s application to develop vaults below Grand Parade as two high end restaurants.  Working with Empire residents TARA had hoped for a successful defence of their interests but did not expect the application to be defeated outright.  After all, the council as landlord, developer and planning authority had promoted the scheme and the planning application at considerable public expense for months.  In the event both ward Councillors, Manda Rigby and Brian Webber were critical and not a single Councillor voiced serious support.  This was an exceptionally surprising and unequivocal result whose cause remains something of a mystery.

And it leaves us without perhaps the single gain that the proposals could have offered: public access, at last, to the Colonnades.  Parade Gardens should embrace rather then turn its back on the river and the Colonnades should be seen as an extension to the gardens, a weir-side promenade linking through to Boat Stall Lane and Slippery Lane.  Amid the wreckage of the council’s efforts, TARA will continue to do what it can to promote this vision.