Ambitious multi-million-pound plans to regenerate Colchester City Centre took a major step forward after Colchester City Council’s Local Plan Committee unanimously approved the adoption of the City Centre Masterplan.
Councillor David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, explained the importance of the Masterplan, saying: “Colchester's City Centre Masterplan represents an exciting opportunity to reimagine the heart of our city. It can be thought of as a blueprint that will help guide future development and inform regeneration already underway in the city centre.
“It’s useful for residents who want to understand how our city centre will likely evolve in response to challenges and how to make the best of opportunities that will benefit residents and visitors. And it’s invaluable to investors who want to understand the needs and desires of our community.”
The Masterplan's framework has already been put into action, with an £11.8 million investment underway to redevelop and enhance St Botolph's Circus roundabout, to improve accessibility for all. Further investments of nearly £10 million this year is already underway, including the construction of a £6.25 million Digital Working Hub, signalling the start of an extensive regeneration process for Colchester's city centre.
Following an extensive consultation in the summer of 2023, which saw active engagement from the community, the adoption of the Masterplan reflects the collective hopes, dreams, and aspirations of over 2,000 respondents. The community voiced strong support for plans to boost local businesses, celebrate Colchester's rich heritage, and prioritise environmental sustainability.
Despite widespread support, feedback during the consultation raised critical conversation points regarding the preservation of the River Colne, project timelines, and the conservation of nature, green spaces, and biodiversity. In response to these concerns, the councils have taken action to amend the Masterplan, ensuring that it aligns with the community's values and priorities.
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council, emphasised the collaborative nature of the Masterplan's revision, adding: “This is a golden age for Colchester, and it's been wonderful to involve the entire community in shaping the next 100 years for ourselves, our children, and generations to come. The revised Masterplan encompasses the views of numerous residents, incorporating their ideas in many ways. Colchester boasts a proud past, and now it has the green light to move on from the legacy we inherited from our Roman, Norman and Victorian ancestors, and embrace an even brighter future.”
For more information on the City Centre Masterplan, visit www.colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre.
Page last reviewed: 17 January 2024