When the art deco building first opened in Crouch Street in 1931 it became the sixth cinema in the town.

At the time Colchester had far fewer residents but the Regal, as it was, proved as popular as what became the Hippodrome, the Playhouse, the ABC, Corn Exchange and Vaudeville cinemas which predated it.

For decades the Crouch Street building was hugely popular, closing in 2002 and remaining empty since then.

Odeon moved out of the Crouch Street venue and into its new home in Head Street.

In the 20 years since the cinema closed many people have tried and failed to revive the building over the years.

This week it was revealed the iconic site will go up for auction with a value of £2.25m.

Gazette: The old Odeon as it appeared in times gone byThe old Odeon as it appeared in times gone by

Last year it was revealed owner Blumarble had spent £2.5million to purchase and look after the building since taking over ownership.

The building has been blighted with antisocial behaviour over the decades since and its future is possibly the long-running planning saga in Colchester.

Understandably due to its previous use, the building means an awful lot to the town, and its historic nature makes regenerating it more difficult.

Last year Blumarble had its plans for 55 apartments rejected.

The most recent scheme would have seen the building pulled down in its entirety.

Gazette: Inside the old Odeon during its glory daysInside the old Odeon during its glory days

The historic frontage would have been replaced with a replica and 55 apartments, two retail units and a basement car park created.

However, councillors rejected the plans due to concerns over the demolition, raised further by Historic England and Theatres' Trust objections.

In 2019 the owners of Coda bar, in Colchester High Street, Ollie Ward and Tristan Clarke, revealed they wanted to take over the building.

Gazette: The Odeon as it was back in the 1990s before its closure in 2002The Odeon as it was back in the 1990s before its closure in 2002

Their plans would have seen a huge 2,000 person gig venue created, making it one of the largest live music establishments in the east of England.

After revealing their idea to the council at a cabinet meeting in 2019, things went quiet.

But that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

In 2018 Blumarble put forward £10 million proposals would have seen the frontage saved with 57 apartments as well as retail units built.

However, the proposals hit the rocks with owner Matt Ellis saying they were no longer financially viable.

Gazette: The site in Crouch Street pictured back in 2009The site in Crouch Street pictured back in 2009

This led to a rethink and the most recent scheme emerging.

In 2014, Ross Carroll, of developer Amdev 101, applied for planning permission to convert the building into three shops and seven apartments.

The frontage would've been preserved with a second block featuring another 36 apartments built behind.

Businessman Steve Peri wanted to turn the building into a huge nightclub.

It would have been a "superclub" and had room for about 1,700 revellers.

Gazette: Inside the empty Odeon cinema pictured in 2016. Picture: Darius LawsInside the empty Odeon cinema pictured in 2016. Picture: Darius Laws

However, Colchester Council stepped in to block the proposed development.

The nightclub plans rumbled on for more than five years after initially being revealed way back in 2005.

A planning appeal to a Government inspector was even rejected.

Gazette: The Odeon site in Crouch Street in recent yearsThe Odeon site in Crouch Street in recent years

Instead Mr Peri turned his attentions to other options, such as building shops and homes on the site.

None of these ever made it to fruition and the building was eventually sold.