A GROUND-BREAKING £4 million partnership is to be unveiled to build a new immersive technology centre.

The first-of-its-kind space will bring together cutting edge technologies and facilities to support innovation in virtual, augmented and extended realities.

Hosted by AIXR, a metaverse-based company, the ground-breaking development is set to regenerate Queen Street's former bus depot.

The ambitious project aims to unlock wider economic, social and cultural potential within the metaverse.

A metaverse is a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

The project has been funded by a £3.7 million investment from the South East Local Entreprise Partnership and Colchester Council.

The innovative project will enable potential Colchester employees access to world-leading facilities which would otherwise be outside their reach.

The bus depot closed in 2015 despite widespread opposition but has lain dormant ever since.

The rejuvenated bus station will offer training facilities which can be used to upskill workforces and support the creation of high-value, highly skilled jobs within the area.

The world-leading facilities will offer a dedicated and immersive lab space with a state-of-the-art mixed reality capture studio and dedicated haptic zones, areas which use technology to stimulate the senses of touch and motion.

As host to the international VR awards, the centre will also run a series of innovative and educational training events, as well as showcases, for Colchester to explore.

The investment will provide significant opportunities for employment, as well as chances for businesses to boost their technological capabilities to grow their businesses.

The new immersive centre, due to launch early next year, will also provide global implications, as a result of the technological developments, according to a spokesperson from AIXR.

Colchester Council leader David King said: “Colchester Council is delighted to be bringing such leading, digitally innovative facilities to our region.

“With its focus on digital skills and nurturing local business, the AIXR Centre for Immersive Innovation will ensure Colchester is at the forefront of the emerging immersive industry.

“This centre will be a real boost for Colchester’s economy, generating jobs and helping local businesses to connect and flourish.”