A £35 million development has been approved for the Hythe in Colchester. The development will provide accommodation for 765 students in 722 rooms, plus new recreational facilities, a convenience store, a restaurant and bar and a gym. Although the site is intended for students it is thought that it will not be exclusive to Essex University students, although we do not know who else may be using it.
The site is on the Old Heath which lies approximately 1.5 miles south east of Colchester town centre. The development will include 0.4 acres of publicly accessible open space to the east of the site, facing the quayside. This is a requirement for development as the land was always intended to be used by the community. However, until now there was not the financial means to develop the land.
Woadguard Ltd & Newdex Ltd have won the contract to construct the development which may also include improvements to the open space overlooking King Edward Quay.
The Hythe area has been neglected in recent years and this is a great opportunity to revitalise the area. The site on which the development will take place is currently called The Maltings. It is approximately 3.5 acres of land which used to be home to factories until the 1970s. For many years much of the area was used as a traveller site until 2006. Recently part of the site has been used by a scrap dealer.
The land requires remediation and restoration before construction can commence. The Planning Documents on the Colchester gov website: Planning Statement Land at The Maltings, King Edward Quay, Colchester.
It is hoped the the first phase of the development will be open in time for the start of the 2013 academic year, so should be ready by Septermber 2013. The first phase will consist of 400 rooms. The remaining rooms will be completed by the following year.
New developments, especially in previously neglected areas, almost always help to revitalise an area. Stying new accommodation combined with great facilities should attract more people, and more investment, into the old Hythe area.