SERIOUS safeguarding concerns have been raised about the revamped proposals to redevelop Colchester’s so-called Cultural Quarter.

Last month, Alumno submitted new plans for the St Botolph’s area, which include a small reduction in the number of students flats, a more sensitive skyline and extra open space near to the historic Roman Wall.

READ MORE: New look plans for Colchester's Cultural Quarter submitted

But campaigners raised concerns over the motive behind the new submissions, with around 600 objections automatically voided.

Protesters have manage to rally their opposition, however, and since the turn of the year, 90 new objections have been submitted.

Members of staff from St Thomas More’s Primary School, in Priory Street, have raised fresh concerns over the plans.

Teacher Leigh Bevan saidthe school was worried Berry Field was being marketed as “public open space” as it has a long-term lease on the facility.

She said: “The position of the proposed development is questionable as I often take primary school children to Berry Field for their physical education lessons and would have serious safeguarding concerns about a site which has bedrooms which overlook the field.

“This would extend from everything such as changing in sight of the children to playing music which may be inappropriate for children to hear.”

Bridget Harris said the school’s field should not to help attract new residents.

She added: “Berry Field is a school playing field, yet it appears to be part of the proposals for open space and has been used as a selling point.”

It has also been revealed developer Alumno consulted with Essex Police over making the development Secured by Design certified.

The police-led scheme implements design features at developments which can reduce crimes like burglary and anti-social behaviour.

Angie Pearson, a crime prevention tactical advisor with Essex Police, said Alumno and the force held a pre-application discussion but talks fell flat.

She said: “This is disappointing as it is a voluntary scheme which would offer the greatest protective factor to any potential increase in crime and anti-social behaviour which could be a natural consequence of increased footfall of an already congested area.”

READ MORE: Colchester traders are backing cultural quarter plans

A spokesman for Alumno said: “We would only apply for secured by design accreditation if it was a requirement from the local planning authority to do so.

"As it was not the case in Colchester we decided to engage with the secured by design officer in any case and met with them on site to run through the proposals.

"The scheme is designed with SBD principles in mind and security and safe guarding is at the centre of what we must achieve given we are primarily a student housing developer.

"The student accommodation will be fully secured via access control and 24 hour management, the wider scheme will also be fitted with CCTV and public realm lighting will also be installed.

"The SBD officer has had a chance to review our proposals through the planning process and has confirmed they have no issue with the design.

"We shall keep them posted throughout the development should we receive planning permission."