COLCHESTER is set to get a boutique cinema after plans were given the thumbs up.

Curzon will start renovating the Queen Street site later this year, with part of the building set to be transformed into a cinema in December.

The cinema will then open in spring next year with three movie screens.

Colchester Council approved the plans last week.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for tourism, said: "It's great news the final confirmation has come through.

"I know there were people who were sceptical it would happen."

The Curzon cinema will only be the company's sixth out of London, with another in Canterbury.

Mr Young said: "I think it speaks volumes about Colchester.

"It will be of great benefit to that area and Firstsite.

"It starts to make it all really come together.

"I'm delighted. I know I'll be a fairly regular customer.

"It's going to be a totally different experience to the Odeon. The Odeon has its place with blockbusters but if you want to see a good art house film then this is brilliant."

Curzon will be transforming the old Keddies Department Store, now called Roman House.

The building became dilapidated after the store went into administration in the 1980s, although work to clear it out began early last year with asbestos and exposed pipes being dealt with.

Curzon will begin by transforming the bottom of the building, which will house two new restaurants, before working on fitting out the cinema.

It will take up the top two levels of the building.

Neither Colchester Council or Curzon would say if the company had bought the building or was leasing it.

A Curzon spokeswoman said: "We're very excited to be bringing a new Curzon Cinema to Colchester.

"The work on the building will start soon, with the cinema fit out due to happen in December - aiming for a Spring 2017 opening."