CAMPAIGNERS are warning holes could be ploughed in Colchester’s town wall in order to create access for a controversial student flats development.

Alumno’s plans, which feature 336-student flats, shops, a Travelodge hotel and open space, were approved on appeal by an inspector.

A condition means the development can only go-ahead when designs for ramp access to Priory Street car park are rubber-stamped.

These plans have now been submitted to Colchester Council for approval.

Campaigners say the proposal will see sections of the grade listed town wall, parts of which were made by the Victorians out of reconstituted Roman bricks, “smashed” to facilitate the ramp.

Arts expert Dorian Kelly, who has helped lead the campaign against the development, has written to supporters to drum up opposition.

Concerned - Dorian Kelly


He said: “It’s part of one of the longest, best preserved and most complete town walls in Britain.

“I am ashamed to say our wall has already had two major holes smashed in it when they built Lion Walk and Culver Square shopping centres. We thought the lessons have been learned.

“But apparently not because Roman materials are to be destroyed again, just in order to allow the developers to proceed to build their massive student accommodation block and take over publicly owned land which could be used for so much better purposes.”

Campaigners say part of the town wall will be removed


  • A diagram created by campaigners to show where the ramp will go

Mr Kelly said Alumno was already set to use 360 concrete piles to develop the site, where he says some believe the town’s Roman forum could have stood and some of the town’s “best preserved” Roman mosaics were found.

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There are also concerns the ramp plan will see the removal of two mature trees in Priory Street.

Mr Kelly added: “It’s not a done deal. It can still be stopped.

“If this application is rejected, then they can’t go onto the main site by law.”

David King, councillor responsible for business and resources, said the proposals would have no affect on the Roman town wall and the plans would not be moving ahead if there was any chance of harming heritage assets in the area. 

The Gazette contacted Alumno but it had not responded at the time of going to press.

Objections can be submitted until next Thursday.

View the application here.