THE architects behind controversial plans to bring 37 apartments and a gym to Colchester’s town centre have said the buildings are currently “unfit for re-use”.

Inkpen Downie Architecture and Design Ltd are masterminding the design of the plans which will dramatically overhaul Priory Walk, Queen Street and Long Wyre Street.

They come as part of three separate submissions which campaigners say have been submitted “by stealth” which will see 76 apartments in total installed in the area if approved.

A spokeswoman for Inkpen Downie said the existing buildings have to be demolished to make way for the new buildings as they are “unfit for re-use”.

Read more: Opposition erupts against plans for 76 flats and a new gym in town centre

She said: “Through a feasibility study, we concluded the Queen Street building was viable for re-use so the scheme re-uses the existing concrete super structure alongside a new, environmentally friendly and thermally improved envelope.

“We always aspire to re-use good quality structures and protect significant heritage assets, but in the case of the Priory Walk schemes, facing Long Wyre Street, the buildings were found to be of poor quality construction, with inherent maintenance problems and structures unfit for re-use.

“The only way to deliver high quality, sustainable architecture, fit for purpose with good environmental credentials was with a new build option.”