Town centre revamp set for go ahead

A PROMINENT town centre eyesore which has been the subject of a number of failed planning schemes finally looks set for regeneration.Colchester councillors are expected on Thursday to approve a residential development on former industrial land between Westway and Sheepen Road.

A PROMINENT town centre eyesore which has been the subject of a number of failed planning schemes finally looks set for regeneration.

Colchester councillors are expected on Thursday to approve a residential development on former industrial land between Westway and Sheepen Road.

If approved, the two-hectare site, which is used partially as a car park and for advertising hoardings, will be transformed with 181 residential apartments, 26 "lifestyle" homes, public open spaces and a new riverside walk along The Colne.

In a report to Colchester Borough Council's planning committee, Richard Button, development manager, said: "The scheme is well-designed and should create an attractive sustainable environment for future residents whilst the general public will be able to enjoy the extended riverside path leading to Colne Bank Avenue and beyond.


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"The layout of the buildings will provide a series of interesting public spaces, the detailed landscaping and art works will contribute to a high quality public realm and the architecture should help to confer a strong sense of place and identity to the development."

He added the scheme by developers Mersea Homes and Hills Residential would enhance the main approach to the historic town from the west and make a "striking" contribution to the townscape.

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Mersea Homes managing director Stuart Cock said: "We are very exited about it and think it will be a great success. It is a very complex site and we have had to work through lots of issues."

The "lifestyle" units have been provided with a studio feel and with a view to encouraging people to work from home. Also included are 36 one-bedroom apartments as affordable housing and the developers have made a contribution of £119,500 towards the cost of additional primary school facilities and £50,000 to improve the existing river path.

Some residents in nearby Victoria Chase are concerned that some of the flats are too high and will block light to their properties, spoil their views and that the access road will cause a disturbance.

However, planners feel the tall buildings are far enough away from Victoria Chase not to overshadow it and that the development will screen it from the much greater noise from the busy Westway road.

Over the years, the site has been earmarked for a number of schemes, which failed to happen, including a multiplex cinema and a leisure centre.

The development is expected to be approved by the planning committee, subject to a legal agreement, with a range of design, landscaping and noise disturbance conditions.

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