A CITY centre nightclub will be forced to rip out its windows, with the bill potentially totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The owner of The Silk Road Lounge and Cocktail Bar, in St Botolph’s Street, Colchester, has already made a significant investment in replacing rotten wooden windows which were “in a state of disrepair” with new plastic ones.

A planning application was submitted to Colchester Council after the work was completed at the nightclub, which is in a conservation area, and the council’s planning committee was left to decide the fate of the windows.

Despite planning officers recommending councillors accept the plans, owner Osman Rasih has been told he must undo the work after six committee members voted to reject the application at a meeting.

Gazette: Business leader - Silk Road boss Osman RasihBusiness leader - Silk Road boss Osman Rasih

Planning officer Hayleigh Parker Haines told the committee applications to replace timber windows with UPVC ones aren’t usually supported in historic areas of the city but said the social and economic benefits provided by the venue “is considered to outweigh the less than substantial harm identified to the historic environment”.


Despite Ms Parker Haines’ statement, Colchester Civic Society chairman Howard Davies urged the committee to reject the application.

No other residents or neighbouring business owners wrote to Colchester Council to object to the proposals and Sam Good, chief executive of the Our Colchester business improvement district, commented that most passersby wouldn’t notice the windows had changed.

While voting to reject the application, the planning committee agreed no enforcement action would be taken against Mr Rasih for two years.

Gazette: Frustrated - Our Colchester chief executive Sam GoodFrustrated - Our Colchester chief executive Sam Good (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Good estimated the cost of new wooden windows at Silk Road would be more than £100,000 more than plastic alternatives.

He told the Gazette he was disappointed by the committee’s decision.

“We wholeheartedly celebrate our conservation area but when a business is expected to spend over £100,000 extra on wooden windows as opposed to high-quality UPVC sash windows there needs to be a re-think on how pro-business the council’s current planning committee is,” he added.

Committee member Sam McCarthy, who supported the application, said: “If someone is willing to regenerate that area or regenerate their business then I’m all for it.”