COLCHESTER Council is being “rushed” into accepting unwanted plans for the town’s cultural quarter, it has been claimed.

Darius Laws, leader of the Conservative opposition group, has also called for fresh plans to be brought forward, which make more of Colchester’s Roman history.

The move comes after cross-party campaigners staged a protest against the proposals for the St Botolph’s area, labelling the plans as a “cultural slaughter”.

Colchester Council has commissioned the Alumno Group to develop the site. It wants to build 330 student flats and a hotel. It has also proposed art studios, a community room and a heritage trail.

Mr Laws said: “This administration is being rushed into accepting these plans which are widely opposed by people from all parties.

“In amongst all this, we have lost the vision for the entre St Botolph’s area. The plan was to open up Firstsite but in these plans it’s hidden from view worse than it ever was.”

Mr Laws also called for the inclusion of a Roman visitor centre in the plans, akin to the Jorvik Centre, in York.

He said: “There is no question there will be archaeology there.

“Let’s plan for it and do it right. If that was the case, people would say: ‘We’re OK with people living above it as long as we are making the most of what we have.”