DEVELOPERS behind the plans to overhaul the dilapidated old Odeon may have to go back to the drawing board after admitting their scheme is no longer financially viable.

Blumarble Property, which is behind the £10 million plans to create 57 apartments in the Crouch Street building, was called out by Colchester Council last week after the building continued to fall into disrepair.

But the developer has now admitted the plans may need a re-think.

Matt Ellis, the man behind the plans, told the Gazette: “As it stands the current scheme is not financial viable and we are currently working with the council on a scheme that works for everyone.”

The plans, which were given final permission by Colchester Council in April, will see the street-facing facade converted into 11 apartments while the main auditorium will be demolished to make space for a new building which will house 46 more flats.

A courtyard area is also planned.

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor responsible for planning, said: “The question is, does this latest development change anything in terms of planning enforcement?

“As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t.

“Regardless of what they are eventually going to do with it, we still want the building cleaned up pretty quickly.”

The planning boss added: “It’s strange how this has come to light now.

“You would have thought, as developers, they would have costed the plans to make sure they were viable before spending all that money on the planning process.”

Although the plans were not universally welcomed, given the almost-exclusive residential nature of them, they were unanimously backed by Colchester Council’s planning committee in October last year.

A residential scheme was also considered the most financially viable plan.

Final approval, including the developer’s contributions was given in April this year.

A Colchester Council spokesman said the only dialogue the authority has had with the developer is through its planning agent, before a section 215 notice was issued, giving Blumarble Property 28 days to bring the building up to standard.

Among the actions it must take are boarding up windows, painting the facade white and cutting back all overgrown vegetation.

The spokesman added: “There have been no discussions regarding viability with Blumarble Property.”