ONE of Colchester’s most historic sites is to be demolished and replaced by a new 130 home estate after plans were approved.

Colchester Council has approved MAN Energy Solutions proposals to create a new estate at the old home of its factory, formerly Paxman Diesels, off Port Lane in the Hythe.

The plans will now see up to 130 homes built on the site which closed in 2021 following 150 years of operating in Colchester.

The German firm announced this was due to a restructure of the business and the impact of Covid and Brexit on its operations.

The closure was met with anger by campaigners, however, as it led to the loss of 70 jobs which sparked a petition in an attempt to save the iconic factory.


But Colchester Council’s planning committee gave the controversial proposal the green light, meaning a mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom houses and apartments - some up to four storeys high - will now be constructed on the site.

A certain percentage of homes will also have to meet the council’s 30 per cent affordable housing demand.

Addressing the committee, MAN Energy Solutions’ planning advisor Alice Routledge said ceasing operations in Colchester in August last year was a “difficult” decision.

Read more: Petition set up to save town's historic Paxman factory from closure

She explained: “Due to the deteriorating economic outlook accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, MAN Energy received no new orders for engines in 2020 and, therefore, took the difficult decision to close its Colchester premises.

“The site will make effective use of a vacant brown field site in a sustainable location. It will relieve pressure from green field areas in the borough.”

Also speaking at the committee was New Town and Christ Church ward councillor Lorcan Whitehead who said it was good to see a brown field site being developed although he has reservations.

He said: “It is a shame to see Paxman’s go, it is important to recognise it has been an important employer and part of our borough’s history.

“I have some concerns about the proposal to have the higher four-storey housing towards the front of the site.

“It seems a strange location and doesn’t fit with the surrounding buildings in the area which are single storey.”