OBJECTIONS are flooding in to the plans to demolish Colchester’s iconic old Odeon cinema and replace it with apartments.

Owner Blumarble Property wants to pull down the entirety of the Crouch Street premises and replace it with 55 apartments, two retail units and a basement car park.

The famous street facing foyer would be rebuilt once demolished, however, concern has been raised about the demolition of the premises which is a locally listed heritage asset.

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell has led the objections, saying the demolition of the building is the “worst case scenario”.

He said: “If it really is the case the building cannot be saved, and the façade as it currently is cannot be saved in its entirety, then the fall-back position must be the replacement façade is an exact replica of the original Cecil Massey design, with the original colours restored, and for all the window metalwork to be re-used.

“Also, for any other artefacts which can be salvaged to be displayed in a public setting. That is the worst case scenario if demolition is deemed to be the only, regrettable, option.

“I acknowledge what the supporting reports set out, which might be said to answer my concerns, but I have been in public life long enough to know that what is said in reports - at the kindest, good intentions, at the worst a ruse to secure a planning consent - is they have to be spelt out clearly and directly as precise conditions.”

Several residents have also set out their opposition to the proposals, raising concerns over issues such as traffic, parking and overdevelopment.

One said: “Not only is this over-development guaranteed to create problems with parking and other issues, but I am also concerned about the flats on the west side will have a limited aspect facing the backs of the buildings nearby.

“Would the quality of accommodation be acceptable in all the flats? I am not convinced.”

Sir Bob said the new seven-storey apartment block, was unsuitable for the town centre location.

“Although it is an ugly building at the rear, when viewed from the junction of Southway where it joins Headgate, this is not a justification to allow the loss of an important building built at the mid-way point between the two world wars.

“The proposal for a 7-storey new building is over-development of the site.”

He added: “To coin a phrase, this is over-the-top for this part of Colchester. Too much, too high.”

The application will be voted on by members of Colchester Council’s planning committee after ward councillor Mark Goacher (Green, Castle) called the application in.