AMBITIOUS plans to convert a former bakery into an escape room centre have been lodged.

Applicant Phillip Mowlam-Tett wants to open the interactive puzzle experience at the former home of Kathleen's Kitchen in Long Wyre Street, Colchester.

The popular bakery closed suddenly three years ago.

In a planning statement, Mr Mowlam-Tett said he wanted to have three different escape rooms for visitors where players have to complete a number of challenges within a set time limit to win, with potential to open two extra rooms in the future.

He said: "We want to change the property from retail space to an interactive puzzle experience.

"This will work as a professional team building service in addition to being open to the public.

"It takes the form of a live escape game where teams have to perform a number of different mental and skill based challenges to successfully complete the room.

"Group sizes will range from minimum two to maximum eight with up to three groups every 90 minutes.

"We would like to incorporate a cafe area at the front of the unit, for customers using the site and potential walk by trade.

"Our initial intention is to open with three interactive rooms, and add a further two in time."

Escape room experiences were initially developed in Japan in 2006 and after proving popular, opened up in USA and in Europe.

The challenging puzzles have now begun popping up in the UK, including one experience in Southend and several others in London.

Kathleen's Kitchen was one of Colchester's most popular bakeries but bailiffs were forced to seize goods from the store after the firm running the shop were accused of non payment of rent in August 2014.

Previously, Rogers and Alison Hance had run the company for more than 30 years before their retirement.

A decision on the escape room plans is expected from Colchester Council by July 3.