COLCHESTER Council has admitted it could go back to the drawing board and redesign the masterplan for St Botolph's... but only if a developer does not appeal its rejected plans.

Last month the council's planning committee unanimously rejected Alumno's controversial proposals for Colchester's so-called cultural quarter.

And at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday business and culture boss Tim Young admitted plans for the area could be looked at again after unprecedented public outcry over the original proposals.

READ MORE: Planning committee unanimously rejects Cultural Quarter plans

Drawing up a new masterplan was suggested by opposition leader Darius Laws who said the current one, which is more than a decade old, was woefully out of date.

He said: "It strikes me that during the meeting there were many references made to the 2005 masterplan.

"I do feel we need to have a conversation about that in light of what has changed since then.

"The plan could be worth looking at again and we have got some lessons to learn from this. We need to work on the engagement plan for sites like this.

"I hope that around this table we could try and find some cross-party consensus.

"It is welcome the council is pausing, reflecting and listening and I think we need to keep doing that a bit longer as it is a very important site for the future of the town."

Alumno's bid to build 336 student rooms, an 87-bed Travelodge, retails units and public space received more than 700 objections from members of the public.

Planning officers had recommended the plans for approval, however committee members raised concerns over access, design and a lack of adequate consultation.

The developer is understood to now be weight up its options and could submit an appeal to the Secretary of State, which would mean a hefty legal bill for Colchester Council.

Mr Young said "the ball was in Alumno's court" but when the time was right the council would be willing to go back to the drawing board.

He added there were "contractual obligations" with the developer which would have to be honoured - but only if Alumno received planning approval.

"Alumno have the right of appeal I do not know whether they will take that up and we need to see how that pans out," he said.

"We do need to revisit the masterplan I think you're right. We all need to all sit around a table and throw ideas around.

"I cannot say I agree with your idea of something the size of the Shard being put there, but all these ideas are in the pot."

He continued: "I think we should start working on that area of Colchester and a number of areas in Colchester to get our collective heads around along with members of the public and lots of other agencies to decide what is best.

"The future of Colchester is in all of our hands."

Colchester's High Steward Sir Bob Russell called for the cabinet to stop any student accommodation being built on the land, which is just off Queen Street by the town's old bus station.

He said: "The site should be of benefit, a lasting legacy, for this generation and generations to come.

"The council should have the vision that past councils have had over the decades, not regard this as a one off capital receipt, but to look at it as a prime site for the benefit of Colcestrians today and tomorrow."