MORE than 100 homes will be built on the site of Essex County Hospital when it closes next year.

Essex Housing has been working with planning officers on a plan to retain the main building and other heritage buildings at the hospital in Lexden Road, Colchester.

Archaeological investigations have already taken place and a planning application will be handed in soon.

Councillor Sue Lissimore, Essex County Council's cabinet member for housing, said: "These images show our initial designs but they are subject to change.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Essex County Hospital, Lexden Road, Colchester, due to shut next summer..

"We will continue to work with planners to ensure our designs provide the best solution for this beautiful site and look forward to engaging with residents when they reach a satisfactory stage.

"We’re working with planning officers at Colchester Borough Council on a design that will not only provide homes that are so desperately needed but also restore historic buildings."

The 200-year-old hospital will shut its doors for the final time once services move to the Primary Care Centre at Colchester Hospital next summer.

It means acute hospital services in Colchester will be on the same site for the first time.

The PCC was opened in 2006 and a £6.4 million investment will see offices on its first and second floors converted into clinical space.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Essex County Hospital is a much-loved facility that has served with distinction for almost two centuries.

"However, the site has been developed in a piecemeal way over the years and is a hotch-potch of buildings, both old and new, whereas the Primary Care Centre is a far superior setting from which to provide modern health care under one roof.

"Being next to Colchester General Hospital, it is part of a health campus which is far more efficient than having separate sites two miles apart."