Community Centre plans on hold due to budget pressures

PUBLISHED: 23 January 2024

Colchester City Council has announced the difficult decision to cancel plans for a planned community centre, based at the former site of Colchester Rugby Club in Mill Road. The decision stems from significant budget pressures, exacerbated by rising costs caused by the pandemic and high inflation.

Due to rising construction costs, supply chain disruptions and high inflation, the original capital budget needed for the development has nearly doubled.

Colchester City Council announced last week that unprecedented budget pressures will mean it will have to reduce operating costs by 25 percent over the next three years, as well as reducing capital spend and related borrowing.

The council’s ‘Fit for Future’ programme aims to reshape services and ensure affordability, while still meeting the needs of residents. To address immediate concerns about pressure on existing community centres in the area, £200,000 will be allocated to extend the life and modernise existing facilities at the Highwoods and St John’s centre.

Cllr David King, Leader of the Council, said “I do understand how very disappointing this news will be for supporters of the St Marks project. Our decision has not been lightly made, but driven by budget pressure, escalating costs, delays to the nearby housing this would help serve, and the need to prioritise.

“We do recognise the pressure on existing community centres in Highwoods and our promise on St Marks, and will set aside £200,000 to extend the life of the existing community centre at Highwoods and St John's.”

Another nearby new community centre on Kingswood Heath will continue, as it is directly funded by developers. 

Page last reviewed: 23 January 2024


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