Date issued: 13 January 2020
A dynamic partnership involving public, private and voluntary organisations has been set up to develop a long-term vision for unlocking more jobs and prosperity for Colchester.
We Are Colchester – made up of Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council, local businesses and other organisations – will draw up a wide-ranging and forward-thinking plan building on the borough’s already vibrant economy and making the best use of the historic, cultural and other assets the borough has to offer.
It will be used to bid for up to £25 million from the Government’s Town Deal, with Colchester being one of 100 areas across the country given the opportunity to bid for money from this fund. It would also be used to seek to lever in funding from other sources to help turn the agreed vision into reality.
The plan will also look at helping overcome some of the challenges Colchester faces in ensuring its future economic growth including its reliance on retail and service sectors, the current transport infrastructure and continuing deprivation in parts of the borough which are among the 10% most deprived areas in England.
We Are Colchester will be chaired by an independent representative from Colchester’s business community. Leader of Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Mark Cory and Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Tony Ball of Essex County Council will act as vice-chairs.
Among the key areas the partnership will look at include how to better connect Colchester’s digital and transport infrastructure, how to grow the borough’s economy in an inclusive way, and how to make Colchester an even better place to live.
To ensure the plan is as robust, sustainable and innovative as possible experts will be called in to advise the board.
Communities will also have their chance to help shape the vision at a wide range of events being planned for the Spring, ahead of a funding bid being submitted to the Government in the summer.
Cllr Tony Ball said: “One of our strategic priorities at Essex County Council is to target economic development to areas of opportunity.
“Colchester is the fastest growing town in the East of England. It is a town of opportunity and it is vital we all work together in partnership to secure this Government funding to attract companies, create jobs and increase prosperity.”
Cllr Mark Cory said: “We are committed to maximising Colchester’s economic and cultural potential, which will benefit our local businesses and everyone living in the borough.
“We are working step-by-step to make a better Colchester. Improvements can already be seen and felt. The Town Deal offer shows that Colchester is seen as a place worth investing in.
“We have been hugely successful in helping to attract new money into the borough to further our ambitions and support a host of high-profile projects. Residents should be excited by this new development. Working with Essex County Council and others, Colchester Borough Council will develop a vision helping not only secure as much as possible from the Town Deal, but also unlock the future potential of this great borough.”