Colchester: Plans submitted for �30million revamp of Williams and Griffin department store

PLANS have been submitted for a �30million revamp of a historic Colchester department store.

Fenwick Ltd, owners of Williams and Griffin, wants to expand retail space by 50% to 85,000 sq ft and add a modern glass facade.

The scheme - details of which have now been put in front of planners at Colchester Borough Council - is intended to preserve existing Tudor and Victorian buildings at the front of the store.

The improvements, which will include retaining and the landscaping of Foundry Alley, are expected to create 25 new jobs.

Hugo Fenwick of Fenwick Ltd, who have owned Williams and Griffin since 2008, said: “We are delighted to have submitted our planning application for the �30m investment in Williams & Griffin.

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“This submission has followed significant consultation over the past twelve months both with the local community and Colchester Borough Council.

“We have huge confidence in the future of Colchester town centre and are strongly of the belief that this scheme can act as the catalyst for the regeneration of the high street as a whole.

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“If planning consent is given we intend to start on this major project early next year with the prospect of completion for the new Williams & Griffin within the next three years.”

Councillor Paul Smith, cabinet member for business and resources at Colchester Borough Council, welcomed the plans.

He said: “Obviously I’m very pleased about a major investment in the retail area of Colchester.

“I think it’s fantastic at a time when high streets up and down the country are having lots of problems we have got people who want to invest in Colchester.

“It’s a real vote of confidence in the town especially when we’re seeing decline on other high streets elsewhere.

“A lot of high streets are under pressure and retailers withdrawing but that’s not happening in Colchester, which is great news.”

Mr Smith added he could not comment directly on the application because he is a member of the council’s planning development committee, who will eventually decide on whether to give the proposals the green light.

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