DETAILS of the multi-million pound plan to demolish and rebuild a sheltered housing complex for vulnerable residents have been revealed.

Colchester Council is set to embark upon a total rebuild of Elfreda House, in Iceni Way, Shrub End, Colchester.

The proposals will see the existing building, which is more than 55-years-old, torn down before a totally new scheme is built in its place.


  • How the rebuilt Elfreda House could look once complete

Under the plans the number of homes at the scheme will increase from 32 to 36, made up of 34 one-bed and two two-bed apartments.

The existing premises is made up of studio flats with shared bathroom facilities, whereas the new build will offer residents their own bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms inside flats.

Each will also have its own outside space, either in the form of a balcony, or as a courtyard for those on the ground floor.

There will be shared communal spaces where residents can meet up and socialise and lift facilities for the upper floors.

The project is expected to cost between £5 million and £10 million and will take around two years to finish.

All but two of the existing residents have been moved to alternative accommodation in preparation for the rebuild.


  • There will be 36 instead of 32 flats at the new Elfreda House

Residents have been told by Colchester Council they will have first refusal on the new flats once they are complete.

Colchester Council’s housing boss Adam Fox said: “We were really keen to ensure we looked after the residents who were living there.

“So we found alternative places for them to go whilst demolition and construction work takes place.

“The vast majority of people have now moved to alternatives either provided by Colchester Borough Homes or other sheltered housing companies.

“We are increasing capacity a little bit, from 32 rooms to 36, which is something we wanted to try to do if possible. It is not a massive jump but I am pleased we have been able to do it.

“Some residents have already said they would like to go back but we have to bear in mind this is a two-year process and people’s situations or opinions may have changed.”

He added: “The rebuild will make the world of difference to residents. I think this shows the value we place as a council in looking after our elderly population.”

A planning application will be submitted for approval in the next few days.

'We are being ambitious on council housing building' 

COLCHESTER Council is ambitious in building new council homes despite the costs pressures of the coronavirus crisis, the authority’s housing boss has said.

Adam Fox said the authority is pressing ahead with plans to deliver 350 new council homes over the next five years, including at the likes of Northern Gateway in Colchester.

He said the rebuild at Elfreda House would also see it built to modern environmental standards, something the council is looking to replicate at its other developments across Colchester.

Mr Fox said: “The rebuild is about bringing the site up to a future proof standard.

“The flats will have underfloor heating and will be powered by the most efficient energy systems possible.

“This is really important to us as a council. It is one year since we declared a climate emergency and we want to try and make our housing stock as efficient as possible.

He added: “We are absolutely determined our housing schemes live up to the ambitions we have for tackling climate change.”

“What is different in Colchester to a lot of other authorities is we have retained ownership of our council housing stock. This gives us the opportunity to invest in housing unlike some others.

“We are really ambitious about building new council housing and we are ambitious about supporting vulnerable residents.”