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To: Colchester Borough Council

No Student Bedsit Development in Colchester's Cultural Quarter

No Student Bedsit Development in Colchester's Cultural Quarter

Community Voice Colchester calls on Colchester Borough Council to use its control of land between Firstsite Gallery and the Curzon Cinema, to rethink the current proposal to build 330 student flats and an 85-room hotel on the site and to instead seek the development of the Cultural Quarter in accordance with the published local plan.

Why is this important?

The plans put forward by developer Alumno are not in keeping with the agreed local regeneration plan for a “Cultural Quarter” with significant artist facilities and some accommodation for residents. The proposed plans are hugely unpopular with the residents as the development is dense, inhibits views of the existing iconic Firstsite Gallery, removes a lot of usable open space, and will increase traffic and litter.
With more than 1100 student bedsits already planned in a small area of central Colchester and being several miles from the University of Essex (not sited in accordance with their accommodation policy) there is also significant doubt about the viability of this project.

Additionally, according to a covenant that was placed on the land by Essex County Council, the land should be used for the public good when it ceased to be used as a bus station. This means the Colchester Borough Council should use it for one of its statutory functions. Building student bedsits or a hotel is not one of those statutory functions.

We hope that instead the council will honour the ethos of the original covenant and local plan and work with the community to find alternative schemes that could regenerate the area and that won’t necessarily require large-scale spending or public works. A large open space to enable local cultural activity or purpose built Concert Hall have been suggested.


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Reasons for signing

  • Greed gone mad way out of proportion with the available space.. a hotel with NO parking??
  • I don't agree with The Cultural Slaughter of Colchester's heritage.
  • Whilst not fundamentally opposed to development on this site, I do have serious questions about the nature and viability of these particular plans.


2018-09-12 21:43:15 +0100

Nearly 600 signatures is great. But it's REALLY important that you also lodge your objections with the council planning department by SEPTEMBER 26th:
Cut & paste:;jsessionid=E0A29C071ECC2009583CF9F49877CCB4?action=show&appType=Planning&appNumber=182120

Application No: 182120
Contact Tel No: 01206 282222
Contact Email

2018-09-11 07:45:00 +0100

500 signatures reached

2018-09-10 13:31:29 +0100

Please make your objections to the planning department by September 26th.
Application No: 182120
Contact Tel No: 01206 282222
Contact Email
Further information about this proposed development can be found on the link below- a report by Dorian Kelly who writes: ' The BIG REPORT: I have written this set of notes about all the reasons why student development blocks are a bad idea. Its a researched piece 20 pages long, but worth reading right to the end. I have sent it already directly to all councillors. It wont make me popular in certain quarters, but there you go... I am now publishing this document widely. It is not a planning objection to the Cultural Quarter slaughter but a set of notes to enable councillors and planning committee to make up their minds and to encourage you to put in an objection BY SEPTEMBER 26th.

2018-09-09 09:38:00 +0100

100 signatures reached

2018-09-09 06:34:30 +0100

50 signatures reached

2018-09-08 23:45:16 +0100

25 signatures reached

2018-09-08 22:31:13 +0100

10 signatures reached