COLCHESTER’S former Odeon cinema is likely to be demolished and the site redeveloped.

Steve Peri, owner of the rundown Crouch Street building says he has abandoned plans to convert the old building into a giant nightclub.

Instead he is considering other options, such as building shops and homes on the site.

The entrepreneur says with local clubs such as Route closing because of dwindling trade, he no longer feels a large nightclub would be viable.

He explained: “To make the Odeon cinema into a nightclub, as it is, is not worth it.

“We’re looking at other projects at the moment – maybe putting flats there or knocking it down, or maybe putting a bar and nightclub there, but not a superclub with a restaurant.

“It’s going to cost quite a bit. We’re talking probably about 25 to 30 flats and retail units, plus underground parking.

“We’re working on it at the moment and hope by the summer we can come up with a decision.”

The cinema opened in 1931 and is not a listed building, though it is on on Colchester Council’s local list of notable buildings.

Its fabric has gradually deteriorated since it closed as a cinema in 2002.

Mr Peri applied to turn the building into a superclub but by 2008 but was turned down by Colchester Council an Government planning inspector on appeal. Crouch Street traders say their businesses have suffered as a result of having such a large, decaying building in their midst.

Steve Levy, of Victor Hawkins Jewellers, said he would be happy to see the cinema go.

He felt Colchester Council should have taken action to keep it in better shape.

He added: “I don’t care if he knocks it down, as long as something is done with it.

“You can’t blame him for not doing anything, because he runs nightclubs and that’s what he knows.

“There must be things the council can do to improve the way it looks, though.

“It’s probably dangerous – it certainly looks awful.”

“Looking from the top of Crouch Street, you might think the street was closed, because the cinema is all you see.

“We don’t get passing trade down here because of it.”