CONTROVERSIAL proposals which will allow a set of old Colchester office blocks to be turned into flats are set to be approved.

Convivia Construction Limited wants prior approval to change the use of part of the Riverside Office Centre, off North Station Road.

Plans will see Century House, Fairfax House and Digby House turned into 93 flats, a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedroom homes, all of which will be social housing.

The plans, which attracted 22 objections, have been recommended for approval but will be discussed by the planning committee after being called in by councillors Lee Scordis, Simon Crow and Mark Goacher.

Mr Scordis said: “We desperately need social housing in Britain but moving people into buildings completely unsuitable for living is not right. Everyone deserves a high-quality home, not a dingy bedsit with one window, which is being proposed here.

“Personally I agree with the recommendation of the Colchester Civic Society to knock these ugly and unsuitable buildings down and build social housing that is fit for purpose.”

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Residents say the Riverside Office Centre has become a hotbed for antisocial behaviour and drugs since becoming empty.