Construction will officially start this week on an impressive £1.6 million public square in the heart of Colchester’s city centre, providing a space for outdoor events and leisure.
The commencement at St Nicholas Square on Monday, 12 February showcases the city's commitment to revitalising its centre and investing in residents’ future.
The project follows the launch of the £6.25 million Digital Creative Hub on 8 January 2024 and once completed, it will serve as a collaborative space for digital artists, entrepreneurs, and tech creatives in the area.
Scheduled for completion by autumn 2024, the new St Nicholas Square will foster a greater sense of community in Colchester as it attracts visitors, creates a welcoming environment and provides new opportunities for local businesses.
The square will be constructed using high-quality materials such as York Stone and granite setts. It will also feature improved lighting and newly planted trees for a vibrant aesthetic.
This exciting initiative is made possible through a partnership between Colchester City Council and Essex County Council, collectively known as Team Colchester.
The partnership has listened to over 2,000 local respondents to ensure that the future vision for the city centre reflects what residents value most.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, expressed his enthusiasm for the project: “St Nicholas Square, alongside the Digital Creative Hub, is the result of years of planning, and it's fantastic to witness the start of work, the beginning of significant regeneration in our city centre.
“We have worked closely with Essex County Council to envision the future of Colchester, ensuring that the input and aspirations of our community are reflected.
“I am confident that the newly improved public square will be beloved by locals and visitors alike, providing opportunities for businesses and events.”
Simon Blaxill, Chair of We Are Colchester, acknowledged the short-term disruption caused by the project while highlighting the long-term benefits: “Although the current construction may cause temporary inconvenience, it's important to recognise that all businesses in the area will remain accessible and loyal customers can continue to enjoy them.
“In the not-too-distant future, a welcoming space will enhance the local economy. I, for one, am eagerly anticipating enjoying the new outdoor seating areas and sharing a drink with friends.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the heritage of Colchester that I know residents are extremely proud of.
“I continue to be incredibly proud of all the hard work and collaboration which has made this possible and the investment into this project continues to demonstrate the importance of historical sites and the need for community in our county.
“I have no doubt this reflects our rich heritage, and how we’re building on the legacy of our Roman, Norman and Victorian ancestors to create an even better future.”
Richard Carr, Managing Director of Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd, said: “This marks another noteworthy 2024 milestone in the ongoing development of Colchester, delivered by Colchester Amphora Trading on behalf of the city council.
“St Nicholas Square will be a transformative addition to our city centre, and I eagerly await the grand opening later this year.”
Sam Good, the Chief Executive Officer of Colchester’s Business Improvement District, expressed his enthusiasm for the ground breaking at St Nicholas Square, stating: "The BID is regularly approached with inquiries about the positive changes coming to Colchester, and St Nicholas Square is one of those changes.
“We are excited about the prospect of a vibrant public realm, knowing that it will lead to significant economic benefits for our businesses and the wider area.
“The versatile space offers a range of possibilities, and we are actively exploring options and devising an event calendar to showcase its potential usage. I would like to thank council officers for keeping us informed about the project. It is truly gratifying to witness the hard work paying off.”
The funding for these projects includes £19.6 million from Levelling Up and £2.5 million from Section 106, as well as £19.2 million from the Town Deal. Together, the funding will contribute to regenerating Balkerne Gate, improve cycling infrastructure, bring heritage assets back into public use, and much more for Colchester’s city centre.
For more information about how Colchester is using grant funding, visit www.colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre
Page last reviewed: 12 February 2024