Retail, Restaurants & Flats for old Co-op Site

There’s a BIGGIE up in front of the CBC Planning Committee when it next meets [pdf] at the Town Hall on 7 September:

East of England Co-operative Society, Culver Street East and Long Wyre Street

The formal request is for:

“Change of use of the building with associated physical works to allow a mix of A1 retail units, A3 restaurant units, along with 24 residential apartments and ancillary storage and service/access areas.”

This translates as two shops and five [FIVE] restaurants on the ground level, and 24 flats on the second and third floors.

Retail on the ground floor? Flats up above?

GENIUS of a planning idea. Someone should commission a £30K survey just to prove the point…

But anyway.

Back to the Co-op.

The building was built back in 1925. The CBC Officer’s report paints a pretty depressing picture of retail in the immediate area right now.

It is as blunt as:

“An overall impression of economic decline.”

A site visit took place earlier this month. CBC found that 30% of retail sites were vacant along Culver Street East, Long Wyre Street, and Priory Walk.

You can’t pin this one on bloody Tollgate, Comrades.

One objection has been received for the Co-op application:

“If Colchester Borough Council seeks to promote the retail importance of the Town Centre, it should not allow the loss of prime retail space in the Town Centre.”

Which kinda misses the point…

The report looks in detail at design and heritage impacts.

It concludes with approval for the plans, subject to a legal agreement.

A contribution will be sought towards ‘public realm’ [PAVING STONES] improvements.

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