The debate surrounding Colchester's cultural quarter has filled more column inches in our paper over the last few years than we can remember.

Initially, there was joy that plans were even coming forward for what has become a dilapidated site.

But little by little, things have changed - not least the investment by Curzon in its new three-screen cinema and Travelodge securing its location.

We are led to believe two restaurant units are not too far from being let out, though we are yet to see evidence of this.

Great - the regeneration of the eastern edge of the town centre is almost complete.

Enter the Alumno plans.

The strength of feeling against these proposals is startling. In recent years, only the ill-fated Horkesley Park, Tollgate Village and elements of the local plan have garnered such interest.

READ MORE: Multi-million pound Horkesley Park plans are refused 

Horkesley Park, which attracted thousands of objections, was eventually thrown out by Colchester Council.

Tollgate Village - the ultimate issue of division in Colchester before the Alumno plans - was too, but was later allowed on appeal.

That one felt like it was as close to a 50/50 split in terms of public opinion you could get.

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As a pure numbers game, the cultural quarter is nowhere near that. There are hundreds of objections - some with carefully thought-out planning-based observations and some admittedly very much based on raw emotion.

But the numbers don't lie. This proposal does not split opinion as previous ones have, it has united it. And it's very strongly against what is on the table.

We appreciate the points put forward by the council, including the warning if these plans aren't approved, it'll be a wasteland for a decade.

But this is our town. These are our people making their opinion heard. The council must listen.