NEGOTIATIONS are ongoing over the development of Colchester’s old Odeon cinema.

Developer Blumarble Property has insisted it is still working behind the scenes, despite a £10 million apartment scheme stalling due to the financial viability of plans.

The firm has also reaffirmed its commitment to tidying the site, which has continually fallen into disrepair since the cinema closed in 2002.

Matt Ellis, the man behind the scheme, said: “Negotiations with the council are ongoing regarding the development.

“The only thing which has been agreed at the moment with regards to the building is generally tidying up the site whilst we are sorting out the next steps.”

The iconic Crouch Street building has been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour and vandalism over the years.

A number of fires have been started inside, including most recently in November.

Blumarble has installed hoardings at the premises and boarded up the windows, after Colchester Council issued a notice for the site to be smartened up.


  • A CGI image of how the old Odeon could look

Paul Stephens, of Two Brews craft beer and coffee retailer opposite the site, said: “It is frustrating.

“People will come along the road on the way out of town and the last thing they see in Colchester is that building.

“It is an eyesore but it could be such a beautiful building.

“To be honest, it is at the point where I hope it gets burnt to the ground and they start again.

“Anything has got to be better than what is there now. You could turn it into a swimming pool and I would be happy.”

The site has had at least four different owners since the cinema closed and businesswoman Louise Smith said businesses had seen many false dawns.

Ms Smith, who has run the Workshop salon for 18 years, said: “This week they have been

boarding the windows up which is an improvement but the same old problems remain.


"To be honest I have always said, the day I see scaffolding going up is the day I believe something will happen.”

Clive Roots, a partner at Owen Aves opticians in Crouch Street, said the building needed to be knocked down.

He said: “It is an absolute disgrace to the town of Colchester. It definitely effects us, it is a disgusting sight and it brings down the area.

“We have had to deal with fires, drunks and drug dealers.

“We are fed up with it and it is not good for business.”