DISUSED shops in Colchester’s town centre could be transformed into 21 apartments under new plans.

If approved, the vacant retail units at 30-32 Priory Walk and 18-22 Long Wyre Street would be demolished to make way for the new living space.

The two-storey buildings would then be replaced by the installation of a four-storey construction consisting of 21 apartments and a retail unit at the north side of the junction of the two streets.

The proposal outlines nine flats would be built, consisting of seven, one-bedroom flats and two, two-bedroom. There would then be 12, one-bedroom studios.


The build would slot into Long Wyre Street, which hosts Specsavers and Holland & Barrett and links to Sainsbury’s in Priory Walk and through to Queen Street.

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Mountcrest Group Ltd, which has submitted the plans, stated “the whole area requires upgrading”.

A spokesman for the group said: “The buildings have been vacant due to a lack of demand for retail space and are not viable to convert to residential as they currently stand.

“The whole area requires upgrading. The proposal aims to regenerate the east side of Colchester’s town centre, while remaining respectful to the conservation area contained within the old Roman walls.”

Mountcrest also pledged to tackle any sustainability concerns, with the plans incorporating a fully green roof which it says will handle surface water, improve insulation and create a natural habitat.

Several vertical, green wall-strips and planting to balconies to naturalise the hardened streetscape for pedestrians and residents to enjoy will also help to design a softer appearance.

The spokesman continued: “[There is] no parking in order to encourage the use of public transport and reduce carbon emissions.

“Drawing from Colchester’s rich historical past and strong Roman heritage, we were inspired to create a contemporary interpretation of a Roman ruin with greenery growing up the architecture vertically.

“With reference to Roman Colchester, classical paintings and other green wall references, we have sought to incorporate planting and green features wherever possible.

Colchester Council’s planning committee has the final say in whether the developer’s proposal can go ahead.”