Hythe Quays

Essex, Colchester

The site (10 ha) is located in the historic port (Hythe) area of Colchester. It has four different boundary conditions: A public road, river (Colne), railway tracks and open marsh land. It is also within a regeneration zone, controlled by a prescriptive ‘planning design guide’.

Our client identified 3 potential uses for the site: retail warehousing, student accommodation and residential development. The masterplan introduced a central spine road through the site, providing a sensible sub-division for the three uses, culminating in a small public space and turning area. This related to a proposed railway halt to improve the sites accessibility. The riverside, not surprisingly, is allocated for residential use, the far end for the student accommodation, which helps provide it with a degree of security and conveniently located for the proposed rail halt and link to the University campus, half a mile the other side of the railway tracks. The retail warehouse takes advantage of the public road exposure, the fact it backs onto the railway is not harmful to it. Furthermore, it provides the benefit of a buffer between the railway and the residential development.

To improve the connectivity of the site: A bridge across the railway was incorporated as an integral part of the rail halt design, a public accessible street through the student accommodation to link the river front / formalised ‘river walk’ with the University campus. In addition a river crossing barrier was on the Councils ‘shopping list’ to enable this stretch of the River Colne to have permanent water to improve its amenity and recreational use.


size: 14,500m² retail, 350 apartments, 800 student study rooms, m² marine centre

value: £68m

status: completed

client: GHP Group / University of Essex


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