Date issued: 9 April 2020
More Colchester businesses and homes will soon get ultrafast broadband, thanks to a £3.5 million ultrafast broadband project being implemented by Colchester Borough Council and its wholly owned company, Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd, using funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
New infrastructure will be installed first along the High Street and Town Centre and then rolled out to the Northern Gateway and the east of the town.
High Street work will begin in April, requiring access under the pavements, meaning the partnership project with Essex Highways to repair and improve the paving slabs will be moved to August.
Councillor Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “We are committed to investing in our Town Centre. Ultrafast broadband is vital infrastructure to keep businesses in Colchester competitive, a real incentive to stay here or to locate and invest in the borough. Futureproofing and investment in our infrastructure is key to their futures.
“Even in these very difficult times, Colchester is looking to its future as a hub for businesses – starting with our superb High Street and rolling ultrafast broadband out to the wider borough afterwards, benefitting the economic recovery that will be so important after the coronavirus crises ends.”
Essex Highways was already planning to undertake repair works and were due to start repairing, replacing and improving much of the pavements on the High St in May. Collaborative partnership working identified that the broadband improvements must be done first to avoid disturbing any pavements after improvement. The repairs will be a jointly funded project that will now start in August instead, and take approximately eight weeks, finishing in October ready for Christmas trading.
The repair works will be done at night, in sections, moving quickly along the street. New, colour-coordinated slabs will replace any damaged areas with grouting and sealing to prevent damage in future. Careful coordination with night-time businesses will avoid problems and people will be able to walk past throughout.
Cllr Martin Goss, Colchester Council’s Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “We’re very pleased that pavements in the Town Centre, many of which had become dirty, damaged or uneven, will be made safe and attractive again through our jointly funded project with the County Council. We want to ensure the Town Centre remains a welcoming, clean and safe environment for everyone. There are better times ahead!”
Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, added: “Both projects are important for Colchester and so for Essex. It makes sense to do them in this order and I am delighted that the broadband project has won government funding. We will ensure that the pavements are greatly improved and future-proofed with minimum inconvenience to traders and public. Colchester has a great future beyond these extremely tough times now.”