AN organisation wants to protect the old Jacks building in Colchester’s town centre by having it recognised as a listed building.

Members of the Colchester Civic Society have started the long application process to have the St Nicholas Street building listed with Historic England.

The building is owned by Colchester Council and is thought to be about 400 years old.

Peter Evans, from the society, said: “It is an old building in the centre of Colchester.

“We feel it should be listed because of its importance to the town centre.

“There are not many buildings of that age and particular style in the town centre.

“It is amazing it hasn’t been listed before.

“The idea is to protect is for the future and to get it a certain amount of recognition.”

But before they can submit the application the team has a huge amount of research to do, so they can prove it is worthy of a listed status.

This is the first time the society has attempted a listing application.

Members have to provide proof of age, history and photographers before the building can even be considered.

Mr Evans said: “We don’t know how long it is going to take because we haven’t done it before.

“It is unchartered waters for us.

Its history needs a lot of research.”

If it is given a listed status any alterations to the building will have to be approved by Historic England.

Discount shop Jacks closed in 2013 after 53 years in the building blaming online competition, lack of parking and rival out-of-town retail parks.

The shop was empty until charity Bridge Waymoved in on a temporary basis in November last year.

For more information about the society’s work, visit colchester