NEW designs for a £4.7 million plan to redevelop a derelict Colchester bus depot into business units have been revealed.

Colchester Council is working on plans to create a set of at least 12 digital and creative work spaces over four floors inside the former First depot, in Queen Street.

Plans also include a café and an arcade-style walkthrough from Queen Street to a new public square behind, being created as part of Alumno’s controversial student flats development.

Funding for the £4.7 million project will come from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and from the Government’s Towns Fund, if Colchester’s bid for up to £25 million is successful.

Queen Street bus depot plans
  • The walkway seen from Short Wyre Street

David King, councillor responsible for business and resources, said the project was part of wider plans to regenerate the town centre.

He said: “It is part of the bigger jigsaw of regeneration in this area.

“The designs will improve the townscape and it provides a walk through to what will be a new public square so it connects this part of the town.

“It is about regeneration of the site but also to this part of Colchester.

“We know investment brings further investment and the areas around the site should benefit too.”

Queen Street bus depot plans
  • The scheme as seen from along the town wall

The new business units will be for digital and creative firms.

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Colchester Council is also working on plans to create a new public square in St Nicholas Street, whilst works on the controversial Alumno student flats scheme, located behind the site, could start soon.

“We know in Colchester we are really good at cultivating digital and creative businesses,” he said.

“This space will be available to growing businesses and it is flexible too.

“It fits well with the wider regeneration of the town centre including the project St Nicholas Square, which is definitely going ahead.”

He added: “There is a wave of positive investment coming into the town at the moment and there is a lot going on in the town centre.”

Queen Street bus depot plans
  • The development seen in conjunction with Alumno's scheme from Priory Street

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

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

Queen Street bus depot plans
  • At least 12 business units will be created

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

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 Council’s planning committee will have the final say on the plans.