A CAFE and arcade-style walkway are set to be created as part of £4.7million plans to turn a derelict bus garage into new business units.

Colchester Council has applied for planning permission to redevelop the old First depot, off Queen Street, into at least 12 digital and creative work spaces over four floors.

  • The bus depot has been empty since 2015

Plans will include taking down the roof of the building in order to extend upwards, creating space for the new business units, as well as a public walkway linking with a new public square development which is being created in conjunction with Alumno’s student flats scheme behind the site.

  • The revamped bus depot

The ground floor will feature a creative hub, as well as a café and bar, while the upper floors will be home to office space.

  • How the scheme could look once complete

It is hoped the arcade area can be used as a performance space in conjunction with the new café and bar.

The site is the old home of Colchester’s famous Theatre Royal, which was destroyed by a fire in 1917. The last buses left the site in 2015.

  • The inside of the old bus depot

It is believed it could be home to “significant” archaeological remains including a Roman street, a Royalist defence ditch from the English Civil War, as well as remnants of the Theatre Royal. Colchester Archaeological Society has evaluated the site.

  • The building seen from Priory Street car park

A planing statement, prepared by Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design, said: “Careful consideration has been given to the evaluations which have taken place as well as the functional requirements for accommodation by the creative industries in the Colchester area.

“The design which has been prepared responds to these requirements in a contemporary and forward looking proposal, which retains existing fabric and respects the grain materials and scale of the existing townscape.”

  • The development is set to cost about £4.7 million

The council is applying to South East Local Enterprise Partnership for funding, with the hope the group will front the majority of the cost for the project.

Cash could also come from from the Government’s Towns Fund, if Colchester’s bid for up to £25million is successful.

  • How the completed development could look

The planning committee will have the final say on the plans.