U's given additional training hours.
Colchester United will be able to proceed with their plans to develop their training regime and youth academy at Category Two status, following a planning meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday night.
The U's went to the planning meeting seeking amended training hours over and above those given in the original planning permission back in 2010.
And whilst the U's amendments were slightly altered again by the committee during the course of the meeting in the Moot Hall, the U's retained the elements required to meet the requirements of the Category Two audit later this year.
The planning committee voted the amendments through by a 7-4 margin (with two abstentions).
Chairman Robbie Cowling told the official website: "I am very relieved, because I believe that this is one of the most important decisions ever to have affected this club.
"This club cannot move forward without a first class training facility and having the chance to develop our young players.
"We took a big step in opting to go for Category Two under EPPP, and now this means that we will be able to plan longer term for the young players' futures.
"We feel we have compromised a lot and we don't think the impact may be as big as it has been reported, but I am just very pleased to have got this decision.
"It means that it will allow us to get through the audit for Category Two status and continue to develop excellent young players like Drey Wright.
"It has been quite a wait to get to this point. I don't often lose much sleep over business, but this one has kept me awake at night. I have been concerned for my staff and players, but I am really pleased with how it's gone tonight."
As a result of the amended hours that were approved on Thursday night, the U's can:-
- use the training ground until 3.30pm between August and April
- use the training ground until 5pm in July during the pre-season build-up
There will be no use in May and June, during the close season.
Furthermore, as part of the approved amendments, the 40 metre buffer zone around Florence Park is also set to be relaxed to 20 metres on the side of the training ground nearest to the proposed new houses adjacent to the pitches.
We will have further comment and reaction on this in the next couple of days.