Date issued: 12 July 2019
Colchester Borough Council is working with English Heritage to respond to concerns from visitors, residents and businesses who use St Botolph’s Priory and the surrounding open space.
The main concern that has been raised is around anti-social behaviour and how safe people feel at the site. As the Priory is a key heritage site for Colchester, the Council is working with English Heritage to add more permanent security to the site to tackle anti-social behaviour; starting on Monday 15 July. The security staff will also be on hand to provide a welcoming presence in the Priory, providing information and advice to visitors, which supports Colchester Borough Council’s commitment to better use of the area.
Councillor Michael Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “St Botolph’s Priory is one of the town’s most important heritage sites, and a gateway into the town from Britannia Car Park for visitors, shoppers and businesses. This move shows that we are serious about curbing anti-social behaviour, which can have a tremendously detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents and visitors to the town.”
“Together with the Police and other partners, we want to create a Better Colchester that promises a safer and crime-free town centre that people can enjoy.”
Councillor Julie Young, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader, added: “St Botolph’s Priory is a key heritage attraction for Colchester and attracts thousands of visitors from across the world each year. This is part of our ongoing commitment to better use the Priory and surrounding open space for community events as well as lighting up the priory at night.”
Sgt Martin Willsher, of the Colchester Town Proactive Team, said: “We have received reports of people drinking alcohol and acting in an anti-social manner at the priory.
“This is not only concerning for visitors and residents, but also shows a lack of respect for the burial site.
“We have been enforcing the public spaces protection order that is already in place and issuing community protection warnings and community protection notices where appropriate.
“We will continue to take robust against anyone who is found to commit criminal offences or persistent anti-social behaviour.”
A consultation is currently running where Colchester residents can have their say about how they feel the site can be used more. The consultation form will take no more than five minutes to complete and is open until 15 July. Take part in the consultation here.