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Viñoly clears final planning hurdle for 'golden banana'

Rafael Viñoly's contentious plans for the 'golden banana' in Colchester have cleared their final planning hurdle.

The Government Office for the East of England has decided not to call in the radical yellow visual arts centre for a planning inquiry.

This move follows the news that Colchester Council backed the proposal - officially called 'firstsite:newsite' - last February.

Local groups have been keen to back the development, which they see as a key stepping stone in the regeneration of St Botolph's area of the city.

Viñoly said of the news from the Government Office: 'We are thrilled that planning has been granted and that the designs can be realised.

'This project is of great significance for the people of Colchester, for the region and also for Rafael Viñoly Architects.

'For me, its progress demonstrates the obvious benefits of the positive partnership that has characterised the project from the start,' he added.

Construction will begin imminently for opening date of October 2007.

by Ed Dorrell

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