A TOWN centre cinema has lodged an official objection over plans to build a 12-screen out-of-town multiplex.

Bosses at the Odeon, in Head Street, Colchester, have hit out at plans out forward by developer Turnstone to turn land near to the Weston Homes Community Stadium into a cinema.

The proposals for the 18 acres of land also include 12 restaurants and an 80-bed hotel as well as 80,000sq ft for other leisure activities, including extreme sports.

But the Odeon claims the development will have a "significant" impact on its business.

A letter from Greg Cooper, director of planning consultants Metropolis has been sent to Colchester Council on behalf of the cinema.

In it, Mr Cooper states: "It is of significant concern to our clients that a substantial quantum of new leisure floorspace, including the provision of a 12-screen cinema, has been proposed in an out-of-centre location.

"Such proposals are likely to have significant implications for the continued operation of Odeon's existing premises and the town centre as a whole."

The consultants also say because the original application for the Cuckoo Farm site was lodged in March 2006, the time period for lodging additions to it has lapsed.

It is also claimed in the letter the amount of floorspace set aside for a cinema and other leisure activities has increased since the 9,200-metre blueprints were given outline approval in that year.

Mr Cooper adds: "The level of increase therefore raises serious concerns regarding the impact of such a different range of uses and the implications for the vitality and viability of the town centre need to be assessed on the basis that it will be wholly different from what might have been in 2006."

He also cites concerns over an assertion there is a market for IMAX and 4DX film technology in the town, stating that 'market' it is the same film goers who use the Odeon in the town centre and "it is misleading to suggest otherwise".

The planning expert also claims the study on which those findings were based is eight years old and is therefore "wholly inadequate".

The proposed cinema site is owned by Colchester Council but leased to Turnstone.

A decision on the plans will be taken by the council's planning committee, but not until at least July.

Two out-of-town leisure park applications in Stanway - Stane Park and Tollgate Village - have been refused by Colchester Council because they would have a detrimental impact on the town centre.