Date issued: 12 November 2020
School pupils have this week helped to launch a blueprint that will help re-shape how we travel in Colchester.
Now open for people’s views, the Colchester Future Transport Strategy examines how the borough’s residents, employees and visitors currently travel and where transport investment should be made over the coming years.
Jointly supported by Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council, it will also form the basis for which all future transport schemes are judged against.
The strategy sets out a bold vision and stark need to focus on health and wellbeing, reduce car use in the town centre, improve air quality and increase sustainable travel, through the creation of four zones in, each with specific priorities.
Currently, over 60 per cent of people who both live and work within the borough travel by car. Of these journeys, 40 per cent are 5km or less and 20 per cent are 2km or less.
Helping to launch the strategy and an accompanying competition for schools, students from Colchester High School for Girls backed the need to focus on the environment and increase opportunities for walking and cycling in the town.
Mrs Willa Jackson, Associate to the Principal at Colchester County High School for Girls, said that the school is pleased to be supporting the Colchester Future Transport Strategy. “As part of our Eco-school status CCHSG is keen to encourage more students who live in Colchester to walk or cycle to school.
“This would not only benefit their health and fitness but would also help to reduce traffic congestion in the area local to the school.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, added: “At the height of the lockdown earlier this year we saw over 20,000 fewer car journeys on Colchester’s roads. Congestion eased, air quality improved and the number of people cycling and walking within the town increased significantly.
“As we move forward and think of the long-term, we need to take the ‘safer, greener, healthier’ ethos into our future planning, making that behaviour change more permanent.
“This strategy will transform Colchester’s network over the coming years and decades. As the transport users of the future, it is critical that we garner young people’s views, which is why we are also opening a competition to encourage pupils to submit their ideas on increasing cycling and walking, alongside launching the strategy.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “How we travel around our town and connect our communities is key to our future success.
“We have set out our vision for Colchester – including growing our economy, providing homes for those in need, celebrating our culture and heritage, and creating safe and active communities. All of these are vital for creating a Better Colchester, as is our commitment to tackling climate change and protecting our environment into the future.
“Put simply, we have to make it easier to leave the car at home.”
To view the Colchester Future Transport Strategy and have your say, please visit www.essexhighways.org/colchester-future-transport.aspx