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Council reaffirms exciting vision for a vibrant Town Centre

PUBLISHED: 6 April 2022


An ambitious new masterplan is set to deliver a raft of exciting new projects and investment in Colchester’s historic Town Centre.

Colchester Town Centre is rich in heritage, visitor attractions and has a strong retail and leisure offer – and to ensure it becomes an even more attractive place for residents, businesses and visitors, the council is working with Essex County Council and other partners to develop a new masterplan for the area.

This exciting vision builds on several regeneration projects already begun, which has seen substantial investment in St Nicholas Square and the Balkerne Gate public realms and a dynamic creative hub in Queen Street, as part of the council’s Updating Colchester project. Other recent investment includes upgrades to St Mary’s and Priory Street car parks, an ultrafast broadband network, a new state-of-the-art CCTV system, and nine parklets in the High Street created in partnership with Our Colchester BID.
In addition, the £18m Town Deal award from the Government will bring considerable investment in the Town Centre improving the economy, enhancing our heritage and creating new public spaces.  

The new Town Centre Masterplan will ensure future growth and development is well planned and coordinated, recognising that the way people work, shop and spend their leisure time is changing fast. There has been dramatic growth in e-commerce, a greater choice of leisure options and an increase in homeworking, in part spurred on by the pandemic, and town centres need to adapt to retain their special appeal and vibrancy.

Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council are working in partnership to encourage this change, to capitalise and build on the unique strengths Colchester Town Centre has to offer, whilst reflecting the Government’s Levelling Up agenda to secure long-term sustainable growth for local businesses and communities.

The masterplan will establish a shared understanding of local strengths and opportunities, with partners and stakeholders – including We Are Colchester, Our Colchester BID and heritage and creative sector groups – all pulling in the same direction to proactively engage with those who live, work, do business and visit the Town Centre, to create a shared vision for the future. This inclusive approach will give the community a greater ability to shape how the Town Centre develops.

Lindsay Barker, Colchester Borough Council’s Strategic Director of Policy and Place, said: “The multimillion-pound investment in the Town Centre has already begun to pay dividends, with some exciting projects either already begun or planned that are crucial in terms of Colchester’s post-pandemic economic recovery and which will provide a huge confidence boost for local businesses, helping to both create and sustain jobs.

“We know that with unprecedented pressures from online shopping, fast-changing customer tastes and tighter household budgets, town centres nationwide are having to compete harder than ever before – Colchester included.

“That is why the council will continue to work closely with its partners and local stakeholders to deliver an exciting new masterplan that will make Colchester Town Centre and the wider borough an even better place to live in, to work in and to visit.”

Page last reviewed: 6 April 2022

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