A FAST food restaurant in the centre of Colchester is set to undergo a "remodelling" after an “asbestos problem” was identified within the site.

Burger King, in High Street, is seeking to remove its existing suspended metal grid ceiling after asbestos was discovered within the ground floor ceiling.

Planning documents submitted to Colchester Council detail how the takeaway joint will then replace the suspended ceiling “on a like-for-like basis”.

Following the removal of the asbestos, the need for additional fire protection works will need to be identified.

Gazette: Restaurant: outside Burger King in ColchesterRestaurant: outside Burger King in Colchester (Image: Google)

A spokesman for architects Hurstwood Design Group said: “The asbestos problem has been identified by a specialist company.

“Due to the condition of the asbestos material contained in the debris lying on top of the ceiling tiles it has not been possible to carry out further investigation of the void.”

Burger King bosses have now said they are committed to providing a "high-quality service to all its customers".

A spokesman added: “As part of this commitment, we are currently remodelling our Colchester branch to continue to bring the best of Burger King to local residents.”

The discovery of asbestos at Burger King comes after other commercial buildings in the city were found to also contain asbestos, including the former Marks and Spencer site.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral which was historically used to insulate and fireproof buildings until it was banned in 1999.

It has since been found that, when disturbed, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and become trapped in the lungs.

These fibres can then cause breathing problems and in some cases lead to serious health problems.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, “about 5,000 people die every year from asbestos-related diseases which typically take decades to develop and cannot be cured.”

Gazette: Leader: Colchester Council leader David KingLeader: Colchester Council leader David King (Image: Newsquest)

David King, leader of Colchester Council, said: “The city council encourages and welcomes any investment in the city that improves the conditions of our buildings and removes substances that many years after their use can pose challenges.

“We welcome the changes to commercial buildings and any other buildings in the city centre.

“The conditions around asbestos are strict - we are sure Burger King and any other company will ensure removal will be carried out safely.

“I look forward to the building being refreshed.”