Horkesley Park

Then & Now
Vale Villages
Meetings & Events
Application No: 160906

You may be aware that Colchester Borough Council’s Planning Committee met on October 20th in the Council Chamber to debate the plans put forward by W & H Park/Mersea homes for twenty-two houses (including four affordable homes) on the site of the greenhouses, London Road, Great Horkesley. The meeting was chaired by Councillor Theresa Higgins. The plans were unanimously passed.

Homes plan on 'Horkesley Park' site tipped for approval by planners
Gazette 12 October 2016

BLUEPRINTS for homes on a site originally set to be used as a £25million heritage centre have been recommended for approval by planners.

Mersea Homes has submitted the plans for 22 houses on land off London Road, Great Horkesley, which currently includes dozens of disused greenhouses.

The land has been the subject of controversy for more than 13 years with a debate raging over the previous owners, Bunting and Sons, wanting to convert the area into a heritage centre.

Bunting and Sons, who wanted to dub the area as Horkesley Park, went into administration in 2014 owing £14million and the land was among assets which were sold off.

It was bought by W and H Park, a subsidiary of Pigeon Investments, which has worked with Mersea Homes in a bid to come up with a suitable scheme, which includes four affordable homes.

The site lies just outside an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and planning guidelines say it must be protected from developments which detract from its natural beauty.

In a planning statement, council officers tipped the plans for approval.

It said: "The proposed development represents an equitable means of securing significant visual enhancement of this disused former commercial horticultural nursery and would deliver significant public benefits to justify a departure from restrictive planning policies relating to development in the open countryside and AONB in particular."

As part of the agreement, the developers would pledge £150k to pay for repairs at the Church of All Saints.

The Stour Valley Action Group was formed to monitor application on the site and chairman Kate Charlton-Jones said: "The scheme proposed is of high quality and is well considered,but the documentation is silent as to why 22 residential units, represents the minimum scale of development required to remove the harm of the redundant buildings."

Colchester Council's planning committee is set to discuss the proposals on Thursday.

Responses to Colchester Borough Council 

Application No. 160906

Your own opinion of this application will be guided by many things: where you live, concerns about policy and precedent and by your reaction to the proposals as you have examined them.

Responses should be submitted as soon as possible to planning.services@colchester.gov.uk All responses will be considered before the planning committee meets in mid-July but the sooner responses are in the more consideration they will be given.

Application No: 160906

Removal of the existing glasshouses and ancillary buildings; change of use and replacement with a new residential scheme comprisingof 18 private dwellings and 4 affordable dwellings along with enhancement measures
The Dedham Vale Society has concerns over the above application: Letter dated May 2016 (pdf 92Kb)

Planning Application submitted for Greenhouse Site
Application No. 160906

Please use this link to Colchester Borough Council's planning pages to acquaint yourselves with the latest application for the greenhouse site at London Road, Great Horkesley. 

Remain assured that the SVAG committee will be discussing this application in depth. 
We will advise you of our opinion in due course. Feel free to contact us by email toinfo@stourvalleyactiongroup.org.uk with your thoughts. I cannot promise to reply to everyone but will read all your comments. 

Kate Charlton-Jones, Chair SVAG - 22 April 2016

SVAG Website
Latest updates and newsletters
can be found on the
Stour Valley Action Group website.


Horkesley Park: Our battle is over

Why the scheme was turned down

The benefits of Horkesley Park would not outweigh the damage it would cause, an inspector found. Despite new jobs and a boost to the local economy, the planning inspector, who led a four day inquiry into the plans, felt the scheme would harm the Stour Valley. Communities secretary Eric Pickles backed the inspector on every single point raised in the report. It considered three main points: whether it was in a sustainable location, the impact on its surroundings, whether there were any planning considerations which needed to be taken into account.

  • For & Against
  • Family firm gives up on Stour Valley Visitor Centre scheme after Pickles rejects appeal
  • Timeline for Horkesley Park plan

Click to view the full article (pdf 709Kb)

Gazette - 18 April 2014 (pdf 709Kb)

Horkesley Park: The Appeal Decision

The Dedham Vale Society is delighted to confirm that the Inspector has decided to dismiss the appeal against the decision of the Colchester Borough Council to refuse permission for the Horkesley Park development and the Secretary of State has upheld the Inspector’s decision. A copy of the decision can be viewed (pdf 1Mb).

It is to be hoped that after many years of opposition this ill-conceived development has finally been laid to rest.


The Chantry - Listed building Status

The Dedham Vale Society has written to the Planning Inspectorate following The Chantry, Great Horkesley being awarded Grade 2 status on the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Click to view the letter (pdf 81Kb)


Buntings in cash crisis
The firm behind the controversial Horkesley Park development goes into administration.
Bank calls in Deloitte to troubled business
One of Colchester's oldest businesses Bunting and Sons has gone into administration. Aspects of the family's business concerns affected include Westwood Park, which hosts weddings and conferences, and its agricultural interests at Horkesley Park. It does not include Carter's Vineyard, in Boxted. Administrators Deloitte have now been appointed by the bank to handle its affairs. It said it would continue to trade "to secure the best outcome".

Click to view the full article (pdf 464Kb)


Horkesley Park Planning Inquiry

The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park : Appeal Ref. AAP/A1530/A/13/2195924

The Horkesley Park Appeal Hearing took place over four days, three of which were at the Langham Community Centre from 1st October, and included a site visit on the fourth day. A summary of the Appeal Hearing be viewed on the SVAG website and Essex County Standard coverage view here

The Inspector stated that he would give his recommendation, to uphold the Appeal or dismiss it, to the Secretary of State in early 2014.    The Secretary of State will then make a final decision on the matter when he has studied the Inspector’s report.

Following the very recent listing of the Chantry the Supplementary Evidence of Karen Syrett is now on the CBC website Proof of Evidence page

  Essex County Standard

Horkesley Park Planning Appeal

A presentation will be made by the Dedam Vale Society at the Planning inquiry on Wednesday 2nd October at Langham Community Centre. Click to view (pdf 118Kb)

Charles Clover, Chairman

SVAG Update - 27 September 2013
The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park : Bunting's Appeeal : Ref. AAP/A1530/A/13/2195924

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. Their full statement is on our web site.
We need the strongest possible representation at the Inquiry on all days but particularly on days one and two, to demonstrate the very strong level of local objection which was so crucial at the Planning Committee meeting in February. Please come. Arrangements are as follows:

Location: Langham Community Centre. CO4 5PA
Dates: Tuesday 1st October to Friday 4th October

Times: 10.00am to 4.00 pm daily. Very limited facilities for refreshments (bring your own!).

Click to view the latest programme

SVAG has submitted its Proof of Evidence and this is available to view here and on the Council website.

Make sure that you come! Pass this on to your friends!

  SVAG Website
Latest updates and newsletters
can be found on the
Stour Valley Action Group website.

Update - 10 May 2013
The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park : Bunting's Appeeal : Ref. AAP/A1530/A/13/2195924

You will be 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. We would therefore strongly encourage you to write to PINS and reconfirm your opposition to Application No120965 for the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park. You have until June 6th to write to them or contact them by e-mail as below.

Your letter/e-mail does not need to be very long. The wording is up to you but we would suggest that all it needs to say is something like:

"Further to my letter/e-mail of ……… I would like to record my continued opposition to Application 120965 for The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park for the reasons given in my letter. The Application was clearly rejected by a 10 to 4 majority at the Planning Committee meeting of Colchester Borough Council on February 28th and this expressed the very clear will of the Colchester community not to have this unwanted development in such a sensitive location. I fully support the reasons for refusal given in the Notice of Planning Decision issued by Colchester Borough Council dated March 28th 2013."

You can either respond through the Planning Portal or write (three copies) to:
Robert Cook,The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/02 Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN. Your letter/e-mail must reference AAP/A1530/A/13/2195924

The Public Inquiry is likely to take place in Colchester, probably in October, and is likely to last at least eight days. As previously notified it is a 'Recovery' appeal and the Inspector's recommendation will be referred to the Secretary of State for his final decision.

Please write to PINS!


SVAG Website
Latest updates and newsletters
can be found on the
Stour Valley Action Group website.


The Stour Valley
Action Group
is holding
a public meeting
on 22nd May
at 7.30pm
in Little Horkesley
Village Hall

The Application was rejected by the Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee on Thursday 28 February by 10 votes to 4.

The Charter Hall was packed with 400 or so NO campaigners who stayed until nearly 11pm to see the vote after lengthy deliberations.

Reasons for rejection were primarily the following: lack of viability and sustainability, harm to the Dedham Vale and the fact that the application goes against the LDF.   We await the publication of detailed reasons by the Council.  It was clear that several of the councillors on the planning committee were concerned about the viability of the proposal and were not prepared to support it without seeing details of the business plan which had been withheld by the applicant under his confidentiality agreement.  They were not prepared to take the officers position ‘on trust’ on this key issue.


Update - 21 January 2013
The Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park :
Application No. 120965

Colchester Borough Council Planning Services have advised that the Planning Committee meeting to decide the Horkesley Park application will be held on
February 28th in the Charter Hall

in Colchester at 6pm - arrive very early!

The Stour Valley Action Group held a public meeting on 16th January in Little Horkesley Village Hall - click to view the report of this meeting

  SVAG Website
Latest updates
can be found on the
Stour Valley Action Group website.

DEDHAM VALE SOCIETY : Letter to Colchester Borough Council
21 January 2013
: click to view letter in full (pdf 29Kb)

It is our understanding that the application runs counter to national, regional and local planning law. Specifically, the overriding need to protect the AONB is reflected in the National Planning Policy Framework. Paragraphs 115 and 116 of the NPPF contain strong protection for AONBs and comments on the importance of sustainable development when it comes to selecting sites near to transport infrastructure and the need to secure the long-term future of town centres. The Colchester Local Development Framework - approved by the planning inspectorate, the full Colchester council and the government - contains in Development Policy 22 specific protection for the AONB. Further policies seek to protect the countryside by permitting only small-scale business initiatives, protection of the town centre from out-of-town development and by focusing tourist attractions within the urban centre of Colchester.

Your own Planning Policy Unit has assessed the proposal as failing on all the above counts and the council’s independent advisors have assessed it as unsustainable by virtue of its location and the fact that 90% of the visitors will arrive by car. We would therefore like to register our dismay that the recommendation going to the Planning Committee is not based on planning law.

A key element in the decision is whether the proposal is commercially viable. The report from Britton McGarth Associates, consultants hired by the Council, gives reason seriously to question the proposal’s viability. If it fails as a commercial venture, it could be sold on with its existing planning and retail permissions and become an out-of-town shopping facility or slip into other unsuitable uses including conference centres, amusement parks or themed wedding venues. The most likely of these, an out-of-town shopping facility, would run counter to the Council’s aim of rejuvenating the centre of Colchester.

The application states that a “key driver” in ensuring the commercial success of Horkesley Park as a regional attraction is its association with the artist John Constable and “Constable Country”. However, there are no connections between the Horkesley area and the paintings of John Constable, nor, we are informed, is there any realistic prospect of any public gallery loaning Constables for a worthwhile exhibition. Private owners would require hefty investment in atmospheric controls, security and insurance likely to make such exhibitions unrealistic. Comparison with the visitor numbers going to Dedham/Flatford, where Constable painted many of his most famous works is inappropriate – the landscape he painted is there and access is free.

The idea of creating a Chinese garden within such a celebrated English landscape would also seem to be in conflict with the kind of landscapes the AONB was created to protect, as would the proposal to charge for admission.

So we have an application which in our view is manifestly against national planning law, unsustainable and probably not commercially viable. We struggle to understand why the council’s officers are recommending approval, unless a motivating factor is the cost of an appeal. We believe that the officers should reflect on the long-term importance of the protected landscapes of the AONB as an asset for the residents of Colchester and the surrounding area and conclude that opposing a development which will damage that asset represents good value for taxpayers’ money.

The Dedham Vale Society urges the officers to reconsider their recommendation and urges elected members of the planning committee to reject this application. The council’s only honourable option is refusal.


Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park - Application No: 120965

The future of the newly named Stour Valley Visitor Centre will be decided in October by the Council’s planning committee, having been advised by the planning officers on the planning law affecting the application. This may be viewed on the Council’s website

The DVS committee has taken the view that, as the application is very similar to previous ones, our membership will wish to oppose it. However, it is essential that the views of the people of the Dedham Vale are made clear by Friday, 27th July, 2012 to inform the decision. Your letters or e-mails, quoting the application number and description of the proposal, should be sent to: Colchester Borough Council, Environment & Protective Services (attn. Sue Jackson), P.O. Box 889, Rowan House, 33 Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3WG or email: planning.services@colchester.gov.uk

It is vital that these letters should reflect the issues that you see personally as being most important and below are listed some of those issues:

Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
The application devotes a lengthy appendix to show that the Visitor Centre is compatible with the AONB and would in fact enhance it. This appears to be based on the fact that the ‘new build’ is all on the site of the greenhouses and therefore not within the AONB. This ignores the fact that the Chantry Gardens and ‘parkland’, to which the public will have access, is within the AONB and represents 91% of the site. The newly introduced National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) accords the ‘highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty’ to AONBs.

Access to the countryside
The application promises to improve access to the countryside for the general public and particularly to open up walking and cycling opportunities. The AONB has a huge variety of well-maintained footpaths, bridleways and quiet country lanes, which provide opportunities, and well-used ones, for walking, cycling and horse riding. Any increase in traffic on our country lanes associated with this scheme would threaten to destroy these recreational uses. Also, excellent work is currently being done by the Dedham Vale & Stour Valley Project to increase access and recreational activities in the countryside. If the Visitor Centre goes ahead, access would be bought at £50/family, £14.95/adult and £9.45/child.

Traffic issues
The Essex Highways Authority has entered no objection to date on the levels of traffic associated with Horkesley Park. This is for two reasons: their brief only covers the ‘A’ routes (little consideration was given to the impact on our country lanes) and an assumption that all traffic will use the A12 and A134 and will not move in significant numbers into the Vale. This is nonsense, as people will wish to arrive by whatever route they choose and, after a day in the Visitor Centre, will wish to see more of the Vale. The impact will be felt right across the AONB.

The NPPF contains protection for our country lanes. CBC is committed in its Local Development Framework (LDF) to defend its ‘protected lanes’ from increased vehicular traffic. These lanes include Fishponds Hill, which is within a few hundred yards of the entrance.

There are many definitions of sustainability and the NPPF focuses on the reduction of carbon emissions. The main concern is the method by which 316,000 visitors from right across the East of England, including parts of London, will reach the site. Given the cost and reliability of public transport, many families will travel by car, adding vastly to carbon emissions. Section 5 of the NPPF deals with ‘promoting sustainable transport’ and does not look favourably on out-of-town facilities.

Retail Activity
The application claims a huge reduction in the space allocated to retail activities, though how much space is, or could become retail can be questioned. No information on the financial basis of the operation is given; it is intended that this remains confidential between the Council and the developer. How are we, the intelligent general public, able to reach an opinion on whether the project is viable, when no information is available? The NPPF places considerable weight on the need to show a project as being commercially viable and surely, in an age of openness, this information should be freely available.

A reason for refusal in May 2011 was that the retail activity at the then Horkesley Park would have an impact on efforts to regenerate Colchester town centre. The NPPF contains a section on ‘ensuring the vitality of town centres’, which again does not look favourably on out-of-town activities.

Local Development Framework (LDF)
Colchester Borough Council’s LDF is an excellent document developed over a 10 year period. It provides the guidelines on which planning decisions are to be made and is very much in line with what has subsequently been set out in the NPPF.

Core Strategy ENV2 – Rural Communities
This states ‘Outside village boundaries, the Council will favourably consider small-scale rural businesses, leisure and tourism schemes that are appropriate to local employment needs and minimize negative environmental impacts on the countryside…….’ Can the Visitor Centre be described as being small-scale? There are very few unemployed people in the immediate area and it will certainly have a negative environmental impact.

Site Allocations
In the Site Allocations document, Horkesley Park is not designated as a development site. In order to allow a major development, and this is a major development, to take place, the whole LDF must be re-opened and any changes approved in a major consultation exercise.

Development Policies
Development Policy DP22 – the Dedham Vale AONB – states that development will only be supported in or near the AONB that makes a positive contribution to the landscape, does not adversely affect the character, quality views and distinctiveness of the AONB and supports the objectives of the Dedham Vale & Stour Valley Project. This application appears to fail under all aspects of the LDF.

After years of non-use, the greenhouse site is an eyesore and should be put back into productive horticultural or agricultural use.


Update - 8 June 2012

New Horkesley Park Planning Application

Buntings have lodged their latest application for Horkesley Park.
The Application number is 120965.

Details can be viewed on CBC's planning page for the Application

There will be a 42 day consultation period.
Assuming this starts June 1st, it takes us to July 12th to get letters in.


Update - 1 May 2012
Horkesley Park Public Consultation

We have received a communication from Buntings informing us of a public consultation at the WI Hall, Great Horkesley from 3pm– 9pm on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May prior to a new proposal:

“As I am sure you are aware, we have been working on our plans to create Horkesley Park Heritage and Conservation Centre. We have listened to members of the public, statutory consultees and Colchester Borough Council and have revised the proposals, taking into account all of the feedback. Having done so, we wish to share what has been achieved and receive further feedback before finalising the proposals. Accordingly we are holding public consultations on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May for this purpose. I hope this will be of interest to you and your members. The public consultations will be held at the WI Hall in Great Horkesley from 3.00 – 9.00 p.m. on both the Thursday and Friday.”

We urge you to go to the consultation and write in to the Buntings if you have objections to the new proposals. Under the new planning regime applicants have to consult, report on and, so far as is reasonable, take account of pre-application objections. We cannot therefore afford to sit back and wait until the application is made.


Update - 29th April 2012
New Horkesley Park Planning Application

Bunting and Sons have announced that public consultations will be held on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th of May at the Women's Institute Hall, The Causeway, Great Horkesley from 3pm-9pm.

This will be the fifth application since the first was submitted in April 2001. We will decide how to react when we have seen the scope of the new 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.


Colchester Borough Council say 'NO' to Horkesley Park
at Horkesley Park Hearing, 26 May 2011

You will all have heard the result with the Planning Committee voting to accept the Planning Officer’s recommendation of REFUSAL 11:1 – I think there is little doubt Bunting & Sons will appeal though on what basis after such a strong recommendation it is difficult to see.

Some 250 “anti” supporters were present whilst the main support for the application was some 30+ apprentices who work for Bunting who had been drafted in.

The Planning Officers were all excellent, particularly Karen Syrett, Spatial Policy Manager, who masterminded the formation of the Local Development Framework (LDF) which played, and will do in the future, a major role in reaching planning decisions in the Borough.

There were 12 speakers on each side – John Constable spoke on behalf of DVS, Charles Aldous, Colne and Stour Valley Association, David Green, CPRE, and myself. The “antis” spoke on a wide range of related issues – retail element, traffic, jobs, legislation protecting the AONB, employment in the rural community, sustainability etc. The Bunting speakers went with job creation, opportunities for education, access to the countryside, benefits to Tourism etc.

Bunting applied for a deferment on the basis that certain environmental studies have not been completed e.g. Great Crested Newts but this was not granted.

When the Councillors spoke they all referred to the need to balance the benefits against disadvantages of the application located in the open countryside – they were very fair in their assessments which may be important at any Appeal Hearing or Public enquiry.

Two things carried great weight with the Councillors. Clearly several had never visited the area before the site meeting on Tuesday 24 May and were blown away with the views particularly from Little Horkesley and from the back of the church overlooking Nayland. This played an important element in reinforcing the need to protect the AONB.

The second thing to impress was All Saints Church Grade 1 Listed and to be surrounded by the theme park, several Councillors felt this was an area of tranquillity that must be protected. This was completely unexpected, certainly by me, and illustrates the power of the church!

The importance of the LDF was emphasised by Karen Syrett – the LDF focuses development towards the inner boundaries of Colchester as part of the regeneration process and approving a retail outlet in the countryside, she felt would undermined the whole regeneration process.

I attended many of the early consultation meetings on the LDF Core Strategy, then Site Allocations and finally the Development Policies on behalf of SVAG and later Little Horkesley Parish Council. At the early meetings Bunting was ever present but does not appear to have made any effort to lodge the Horkesley Park as a development site – therefore, the application is outside the Borough Plan and will not get any permissions.

There was much discussion on the latest statements from Government to the effect that the over riding issue in giving planning consent should be economic development. This could be interpreted as removing protection from the countryside/AONB and certainly Gittins will go down that avenue but the protections are still in place. No doubt at an appeal this will be argued over long and hard.

Earlier in the week I had a Parish Council session with Vincent Pearce, who heads CBC Planning Services Manger, and he advises that the Government intent to sweep away all PPG/PPSs and replace them with a single document outlining the broad brush principles. Local planning policies would then be contained in the LDF – the LDF will become the key to local planning decisions.

When the future is somewhat clearer, Vincent has agreed to run a session for Parish Councils on how planning will be conducted in the future. He has also agreed to do a session for conservation bodies – if I organise it!

I think the lessons to be learnt from yesterday evening are:
  • Local Development Frameworks are going to be vitally important going forward,
  • We need to be aware of work being done by Babergh, Tendring and Braintree, particularly at the Site Allocations and the Development Policies stages, and seek an input,

Colchester will be reviewing their LDF from late 2012,

  • We need briefing sessions when the approach to planning settles down.

A final thought - do the conservation societies need to be considering a QC to represent them at the inevitable Bunting appeal.

Roger Drury, 27 May 2011


Walk the free countryside and make your protest against Horkesley Park!

Sunday May 15th

Join us to walk the public footpaths across the Horkesley Park site on Sunday May 15th at 11.00am starting from London Road near the junction with Fishponds Hill.

At the end of the Walk we will create a human ‘NO’ for photography in the field below Great Horkesley Church, after which there will be drinks by kind invitation of Robin and Danaë Duthy.

Bring a picnic for the family if the sun shines on us!

Don’t let Buntings hijack the countryside!

Parking will be available in field first left on London Road after junction with Fishponds Hill going towards West Bergholt. If you bring dogs, they must be on leads. We will have marshals available but walkers must stick strictly to the public footpaths.

  SVAG Website

More information, press coverage and the key issues of concern surrounding this planning application can be found on the Stour Valley Action Group website.

Horkesley Park Planning Committee Hearing : Thursday 26 May

The Colchester Borough Council Planning Committee hearing of the Horkesley Park planning application will be held at the Town Hall at 6.00pm on Thursday 26 May.

A strong showing of opposition could well be important and we urge as many of you as possible to turn upon the night to express your views. However, seats may be at a premium and we would suggest you ought to be in place by 5.15pm.

The process has been complicated by a number of issues. Firstly we have Local Government elections scheduled for 5 May and any change in the number of seats held by the respective parties could mean a change in the leadership of the Colchester Borough Council. Additionally after all elections the opportunity is taken to “refresh” the various committees and it may well be that a very much changed committee will be in place by 26 May.

We have requested that the Dedham Vale Society is allocated one of the three minute slots to speak against the application but will not know whether that is confirmed until the new committee and Chair are in place.

Those of you who wrote to object to the application will have received a letter from Alistair Day, Planning Officer, informing you of new materials recently submitted and offering you the opportunity to comment. We would urgently request you follow up with a simple statement that your objection still stands.

The Society has been disappointed that Natural England have produced a letter stating that “the impact of Horkesley Park could be acceptable given action in mitigation” and this has been interpreted as being am amber light to the development.

We, therefore, need to strengthen the opposition on the ground even at this, the eleventh hour.

Roger Drury 6 April 2011