PLANS to build 120 homes on the site of a former hospital have been given the green light.

Essex County Council’s in-house developer Essex Housing has won approval for their plans to convert Essex County Hospital in Lexden Road, Colchester.

The scheme will see the Grade II listed main hospital, nurses home, kitchen store, and medicine buildings converted to provide 70 of the houses and apartments.

Additional outbuildings will be demolished to make way for another 50 units.

The developer has made several changes to their plans over the last few months in a bid to respond to criticism from concerned residents.

Designs for the new homes have come under fire as well as plans for just four of the new units being designated as affordable.

However, Colchester Council’s planning committee unanimously approved the scheme with the condition put forward by councillor Helen Chuah that an information board documenting the site’s history be installed.

Chairman Cyril Liddy said: “It is good historical buildings are being used and renovated.

“Obviously we do have some criticisms about the design but in a case like this beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“It is a matter of personal taste.”

Chris Pearson added: “With design, one person’s Picasso is another person’s Da Vinci.

“There is never going to be total agreement on what is put forward as it is so subjective.”

Treatment first began on the hospital site in 1820 when the Government raised cash for it to open fearing a Napoleonic invasion.

It went onto play a key role in Colchester’s response to both world wars and a new radiotherapy suite was opened in 1964.

The hospital finally shutdown in 2018, with services gradually migrating to Colchester Hospital and the primary care centre in Turner Road over four years to ease the transition.