CONTRACTORS have been appointed to carry out repair works to a much loved hardware store to make way for a micro-brewery to move in.

Colchester Council has chosen ARC Group to carry out building work on Jacks in St Nicholas Street which is expected to go on for the next few months.

Neighbours Three Wise Monkeys will then transform the interior of the building and use it to produce beer for other pubs and restaurants and allow people to buy tipples directly from their in-house brewery.

The authority, which owns the building, has agreed to grant a long lease on the building in a bid to support the area’s economic growth.

Jacks closed in February 2013 after more than 60 years trading selling everything from fishing rods to head lights and thermal underwear.

The store has been empty since then.

Colchester Council leader Mark Cory (Lib Dem) said: "The former Jacks store is a significant part of the history of Colchester’s town centre.

"Working with Three Wise Monkeys to bring this important building back into economic use will help stimulate further inward investment, as well as delivering more jobs in the town.

"Personally, I enjoy going to Three Wise Monkeys for a drink and feel this new venture will add so much to the attraction of the place.

"It really adds to the atmosphere to see the brewery right there in front of you.

"I am happy to raise a glass to support this local business go from strength to strength.”

Paul Tonkinson of Pasini Leisure, which runs Three Wise Monkeys, said: “The owners are excited for remedial work to begin on the iconic Jacks building.

"There will be a major refurbishment of the site, so it retains its charm of old, but is able to function as a modern craft brewery.

"Beer is currently being brewed in the basement of Three Wise Monkeys under the “Other Monkey Brewing” brand.

"An expansion of our current facilities is required to keep pace with an ever-increasing demand for our products.

Construction director for ARC Group said: "We are well aware of the history of the building, its importance to the town and local residents, and are looking forward to restoring the building to its former glory and standing for the local community.”