PLANS for a £40million investment in Colchester town centre have been given the go ahead.

Proposals put forward by Williams & Griffin to overhaul its High Street store and remove the 1920s facade have been given the green light by planners.

Colchester Council planning officer Vincent Pearce told members of the planning committee last night that Colchester High Street is in danger of becoming “one of the less vital parts of the town” and the £40million investment would help.

“This is a colossal investment,” he said.

Hugo Fenwick, group trading director of Fenwick Ltd, which owns Williams & Griffin, added: “Town centres are struggling in these tough economic times.

“Failure to promote this proposal would have significant affects for Colchester town centre.