HUNDREDS of new student flats could be built in high-rise blocks at a former industrial site if plans are approved.

Colchester-based student homes specialist Beyond the Box has submitted a planning application to create the new homes at Colne Quay, in Hythe, Colchester.

Accommodation will be split over three separate buildings with 300 studio rooms available with en suite and kitchenette facilities.

The development’s hub will include a cinema room, games area and gym for students to use.


As part of the plans Beyond the Box, which runs an existing student development in Avon Way, Greenstead, wants to make a raft of improvements to the public space, including spending £1 million on a new river wall for the area.

James Struth, managing director of Beyond the Box, said: “The Hythe has such a fantastic industrial history. Colne Quay in particular was a bustling part of the town for more than 100 years when it was part of the Colchester Gasworks.

“But after it was vacated and demolished in the 1970s the land has sadly been left to become overgrown and dilapidated.

“It is its unique history which has inspired us and award-winning architects Whittam Cox to create a development worthy of the area.

“Featuring brick and slate roofs in sympathy with the historic dock setting as well as a biodiverse garden and roof, we are also creating a new river wall and path, costing more than £1 million, which will be fully accessible to the public.

“We are keen to bring a focus to the whole of the Hythe where everyone can come and enjoy the area.

“Not only will Colne Quay be fully accessible to the public, but we are creating riverside seating, garden areas and new boat moorings directly on the beautiful River Colne.

“It’s a unique opportunity to revitalise a derelict area and help revitalise its identity.”

The development will also feature photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity and a biodiverse garden and roof to make it environmentally friendly.

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Residents were invited to give their thoughts on the plans during a consultation earlier this year.

Mr Struth added: “The feedback we have had from residents has been invaluable at helping us to shape our vision of Colne Quay as a welcoming and forward-thinking community.

“The area is currently inaccessible with a severely damaged river wall which is a danger to the public.

“Colne Quay will revitalise this neglected area for all and, with student numbers at Essex University set to expand by 5,000 by 2025, provide a home for the next generation to learn and grow.”

If plans are approved, the flats could be ready as soon as September 2023.

Colchester Council will have the final say on plans.

You can find the plans here.