Young people share their ideas on the future of their city

PUBLISHED: 25 July 2023

Young people from Colchester Sixth Form College relished the opportunity to have their say in a specially organised workshop as part of the City Centre Masterplan and consultation into the regeneration of St Botolph’s Circus.

In a lively workshop run by Essex County Council and Colchester City Council, young participants praised their city for its green spaces and heritage, arts and culture – and expressed pride in Colchester.

During the event, young people made suggestions for how they feel the city centre could be made yet more welcoming and attractive for residents and visitors. 

They were keen to see the development of sustainable and safe travel routes, connecting the city to surrounding areas to encourage more people to travel by bus, walking, cycling or scooting, to help address the challenges of climate change and air pollution.

They highlighted the need for well-designed new homes, providing choice for city centre living with easy access to an exciting range of services and leisure activities.

There was also a call for more reliable, frequent, and affordable public transport with additional secure cycle parking in the city centre. They also questioned the need for a transportation hub when they use technology to access real-time and live travel information and nearest location to board the bus needed.

Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, said: “We must ensure young people have a voice and equal right to participate in the regeneration of our city. They are the future that we are pushing to empower and support, and in every conversation, it’s been inspiring to see so many ideas and so much passion for making our community stronger. This is a generation that have so much insight, awareness and skills to bring, and the more we can shape our city for and with them, the better their inheritance”

Colchester’s Levelling Up Fund Plan covers a range of improvement projects in the city centre, increasing footfall by creating a more attractive environment for visitors, reducing antisocial behaviour and tackling poor air quality and traffic congestion.

Specific projects include:
  • Improving the walking and cycling routes in the city centre by including a new road layout and removing underpasses at St Botolph’s Circus.
  • Creating a heritage walking route that will provide an attractive, safe, coherent path from St Botolph’s Priory, past Firstsite and to Colchester Castle and Castle Park, with clear wayfinding and interpretation.
  • Celebrating more of the heritage in the area with long-standing repairs to the Roman wall both at Priory Street and also at Vineyard Street included.
  • Money will enable the existing Town Deal ‘kerbless street’ route from Head Street to Queen Street to be completed.
  • Working in partnership with Colchester’s BID to support businesses to improve shop fronts in the St Botolph’s area (for further details of the Shop Front Grant scheme visit Shop Front Improvement Grants)
  • A convenient new hub for storing and hiring bikes, e-bikes, e-cargo bikes and e-scooters has already been delivered.
Consultation is currently open on the regeneration plans for St Botolph’s Circus and the City Centre Masterplan. Residents are encouraged to give their feedback by visiting 

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader for Essex County Council, said: “Young people in Colchester have a huge part to play in the future of our city – and I’m delighted that students have Colchester Sixth Form have taken this opportunity to share their views.
“With this consultation, we want to create a vision of Colchester City Centre that reflects what’s important for the next generation.
“For those of you who are yet to take part in the consultation, please have your say. Let’s build on our city’s incredible history and create a future we’ll all be proud of.”

On Saturday, 22 July, the Mercury Theatre hosted its Colchester City Youth Takeover, which was part-funded by Colchester City Council, ECC and the Levelling Up Fund, offering young people the opportunity to celebrate all things Colchester with workshops, a talk about your future city, arts & crafts and live music.

Page last reviewed: 25 July 2023


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