PLANS to turn a set of office blocks on the outskirts of Colchester town centre into up to 101 new flats have been revealed.

Convivia Construction Limited has applied to Colchester Council for prior approval to change the use of part of Riverside Office Centre, in North Station Road, to homes.

If plans are approved the buildings, Century House, Fairfax House and Digby House, could be turned into either 99 or 101 flats, a mix of studios as well as one, two and three-beds.

An application has also been submitted to alter the outside of the office blocks and create new windows if the 101 homes plans go ahead.

According to the planning statement the properties could be “100 per cent social housing”.

Plans also include 147 parking spaces for residents, with 12 visitor spaces and 184 bike store spaces.

A report states: “The site’s location within the town centre ensures it is well related to a wide variety of shops, services, employment opportunities and public transport interchanges.

“In combination with the large levels of bicycle parking proposed, the site is well placed to encourage the use of non car modes of transport.

“It is therefore considered that the site is in a sustainable location where the need to travel is minimised.”

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Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, has called for a full planning application to be submitted.

He said: “I appreciate the relaxation by the Government over Planning makes life more difficult for Local Authorities in administering sensible planning, and while there are occasions when the conversion of empty offices into residential use is a sensible resolution there are those when this is not.

“The conversion of Charles House, Stuart House and Northgate House in St Peter’s Street from offices to residential appears to have worked out satisfactorily, whereas I would suggest that of Seatrade House in North Station Road is less so.

“I believe the first three occurred at a time when planning approval was needed for such a conversion; the latter in more recent times when planning approval was not needed.– and this one has been less successful, alas. It is just feet from North Primary School.”

He added: “There is plenty of car parking space – but what about amenity space? The offices are just feet from the back of the dwellings in Riverside Walk, which they would overlook.”

Colchester Council will decide whether prior approval is required.