Our Ambitious City – The City of Colchester

PUBLISHED: 23 January 2024

As we move into Colchester’s second year as a modern city, Colchester City Council proudly celebrates how community and business ambitions are bigger and bolder than ever before.

Throughout 2023, the council, in collaboration with the other public bodies, local community, organisations and businesses, supported a wide array of successful events and initiatives through the Year of Celebration. Now it’s time to talk about the next few years, not just events, but investment in the city, enabling and supporting new businesses, creating jobs, opportunities from new skills training and the confidence residents have for the future.

Sam Good, Chief Executive of Colchester’s Business Improvement District (BID), comments on the pride and ambition that modern city status has brought to Colchester: “What I have seen over the last 12 months, since Colchester became a city, is an increase in our communities and businesses ambitions to be bigger and bolder than ever before.

“We are also seeing huge sums of money invested from the government and private investors and businesses, showing great confidence and strength in our future. At a time where investment is being pulled back, Colchester City Centre has never had more interest from private investors and new businesses which is fantastic.”

Alongside many private developments, Colchester City Council is leading the way with the opening of Colchester Northern Gateway Leisure Park this summer. The redevelopment of several grant funded sites in the city centre will be starting this year, including the Digital Creative Business Hub in Queen Street, revamped St Nicholas and Trinity Squares. At the same time, detailed plans for an improved St Botolph’s Circus roundabout, Holy Trinity Church and a range of other major projects, all of which will transform areas many of us use and enjoy every day, are being prepared. 

However, it’s not just commercial buildings, new homes for people to live in are key. This year the council has built 20 new council homes and purchased 42 existing homes to bring them back into social housing stock. There’s more to do to help those on housing waiting lists, and the council is working on a Housing Action plan to do just that. More information about the action plan will be available later this year.

And plans don’t stop there. The council continues to support North Essex Heritage’s ambitious Heritage Lottery Fund bid to redevelop Jumbo water tower, whilst working with the BID to encouraging and support new businesses to grow within and move to our city.

Cllr David King, Leader of the Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many private businesses making big investments in our city and our buildings, helping to grow our economy and the city centre, alongside creating new jobs and opportunities for our residents.

“It is also great to see that for many that our city status helps positivity, especially on social media groups and channels, about our city and all the events and investment taking place. We have a great place to live work and visit. Working with business we will do all we can to build on that sense of pride and place and possibility.

A resident commenting on the city centre on the run up to Christmas: “Looks beautiful, the centre was absolutely heaving today! So busy, lovely to see everyone out shopping!”

A resident commenting on events across the city throughout the Year of Celebration: “It really was an amazing summer in Colchester… so much on. Siege event was epic and Invasion keeps getting better… the Gladiator exhibition at the Castle is superb too… not to mention a visit from the King! ❤️”

A resident posting about Colchester city centre in November 2023: “Popped into the city today to grab some lunch with my wife. It’s not often I get into the city during the day due to work but I was really pleased to see the place was busy with people.”

Followed by another resident adding: “Absolutely agree, in fact I’ve got a friend coming up from Croydon tomorrow to go shopping here. It’s a lot more vibrant than many other places.”

Cllr King added: “I am hugely proud of what we as a community, or people, businesses and organisations, have achieved over the last twelve months. We really are a stronger city by working together, sharing our resources, ambition and all pulling in the same direction, together, to build a stronger, inclusive and more resilient city we are all proud of.”

Page last reviewed: 23 January 2024


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