Plans to turn a space above a restaurant in Colchester's town centre into a house of multiple occupation has been revealed.

The applicant has asked Colchester Council for permission to convert the first and second floor of 52 to 53 High Street from a single dwelling to seven bed HMO.

The planning application says the site, above Poppins Cafe and Restaurant, is “derelict and in need for urgent attention.”

It is planned three bedrooms would share a WC and shower room and the other four bedrooms would have en-suites.

There would also be a shared kitchen and dining area.

The application said: “There is a recognised demand for housing of this form in the borough of Colchester therefore the proposal should be considered to be acceptable in principle.

“The busy would suit working professionals looking for suitable single occupancy.”

In February officers uncovered a cannabis growing operation in a flat above the café.

Stunned shoppers watched on as police dismantled equipment used in the cannabis farm and used a petrol-powered shredding machine to chop up about 500 cannabis plants.

Colchester Civic Society has objected to the plans in light of its previous use.

It said: “We are concerned the provision of seven rooms is overambitious in the space and is not acceptable.

“We are equally unhappy the kitchen has no provision for natural light or natural ventilation apart from the possible shred window.

“There is no management plan for the HMO and given the history of recent use for these two floors we would expect assurances the applicant is a fit and proper person to manage this proposal.”

The plans were submitted in April and Colchester Council will have the final say.

  • Phong Nguyen, 22, and Tam Nguyen, 26, were charged with producing a Class B drug in relation to the incident in February and are due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on June 17.