WHEN will they learn?

Colchester is a land of opportunity, steeped in history but with bags of possibilities.

But again and again developers seem to come in with their Size 9s with unpopular plans.

Perhaps it is a lack of understanding, perhaps just a different, more modernist approach.

But certainly the new plans for the Essex County Hospital site have ruffled a few feathers.

We’ve been here before with the plans for student flats and a hotel in the St Botolph’s area.

The area touches on a Roman wall and an Augustine priory and yet the proposed plans for the area are stark and functional and showing little empathy to the surroundings.

Now the plans for the Essex County Hospital site have been released and again there seems to be more emphasis on functionality than a nod to the history and significance of the site or the area.

The listed frontage of the hospital will remain but will, according to opponents, be surrounded by buildings which are out of keeping with the area.

Perhaps, as laymen, we are missing the point. Perhaps we are too entrenched in the past.

But on the other hand, perhaps it should be a prerequisite that prospective developers are made to take a tour of Colchester before submitting their plans and made to understand the glory and history of town they want to build in.

The problem is once built, these developments will be in situ for decades and, as such, they simply must be right.