RESIDENTS of Colchester are overwhelmingly in favour of the town’s iconic Embassy Suite being brought back to life as an entertainment venue, a Gazette poll has revealed.

Last week, the Gazette revealed businessman Ian Saunders had returned with fresh plans for the former Chinese buffet, in Balkerne Hill.

After his plans for a sex entertainment venue fell at the final hurdle of getting a licence, Mr Saunders has applied to turn the premises into somewhere for live bands, DJs, comedy nights, cabaret, LGBTQ+ events, singles’ and couples’ nights and family events.

A total of 292 people responded to an online poll, with 86 per cent saying they were in favour of the new plans.

Residents also took to the Gazette Facebook page to express their support for Mr Saunders’ proposals.

Rachel Hooke said it was a brilliant idea. She said: “Live music, bands, bar area. Rehearsal room for hire. For the grown up people of Colchester.

“The Bull was good for that, but too small and not as good as it used to be. Something a bit like Brixton Academy but cleaner.”

Devide Hantonie said: “Post Covid where jobs are in need, someone is trying hard to invest, be creative and provide an opportunity for people to have something new and fun.

“What do we want in Colchester? To stare at some old stone and remember the past glory and the empty building?”

Dez Jones added: “Absolutely support this. Anything to widen the options available.”

The Embassy Suite was a popular gig venue and nightclub for decades before it became a restaurant.

Andy Lee said it should be brought back to life as an entertainment venue, adding: “Or we could let it sit there like the old Odeon and rot.

“It’s sitting empty, somebody’s interested in it let them make use of it.”

Mr Saunders, who wants to open Solo Summers in memory of his late wife, Solo, said: “This is one last shot for me as my plan B is to take my investment into a different area of Essex, which will be a big shame for Colchester, but it is what it is.”

Colchester Council will have the final say on the planning application.