Meet George Braithwaite - the man behind the £3.8 million plans to transform Colchester's famous water tower Jumbo.

The County Standard revealed last week plans had been submitted to convert the iconic listed building into flats, offices, penthouses and a restaurant.

The modern designs also include installing glass walling between the legs of the Victorian structure and a mezzanine floor to allow uninterrupted views from the High Street.

Mr Braithwaite, who bought Jumbo at an auction in London for £330,000, said he knew the proposals would generate reaction - but he said the scheme had not been drawn up without careful consideration.

Mr Braithwaite, 51, has a passion for old buildings and the proposed redevelopment is the latest in a series of restoration projects involving historic properties.

His development of the 19th century Rackheath Hall in Norwich won the Broadland District Council Enhancement Award.

However, when he first bought Jumbo, Mr Braithwaite said he did not know anything about it or its history - he just liked it.

He said: "I am a developer and I liked the building and saw an opportunity.

"I love old buildings and I thought 'Something can be done with that'."

Mr Braithwaite said he expected criticism from some quarters but added: "I'm a developer, I'm used to it.

"I think everything has a useful life. The water tower had its useful life in its day but it is not a water tower any more.

"Sometimes people have to wake up and smell the coffee. This is a building which needs to have something done to it.

"I can achieve that by developing it."

Londoner Mr Braithwaite started his career as a mechanic but turned his hand to property developing after seeing the potential financial rewards.

He said: "I used to repair lots of Rolls Royces and Jaguars and thought 'You don't see too many mechanics with these' so got into property development."

He started his developing in north London before moving on to projects in Hertfordshire and later Norwich.

Mr Braithwaite is keen for the Jumbo development to succeed. He said: "If I like something, I'll do it but it has to interest me.

"I have spent an awful lot of money and time getting to this stage.

"These things don't just appear; they take a lot of effort."