Date issued: 25 September 2020
Colchester is set to receive £1 million to revamp two gateways to Colchester town centre, following an announcement by the Government earlier today (25 September 2020).
The money, which has been awarded to We Are Colchester, will be spent on the first phases of two public realm schemes, at St Nicholas Square and Balkerne Gate, with bids for further funding to follow.
At the start of 2020, Colchester was one of 100 areas across the country chosen to bid for up to £25 million from the Government’s Town Deal fund. If successful, the money would also be used to help lever in additional funding from other sources and turn We Are Colchester’s agreed vision into reality. The opportunity was paused at the start of lockdown and when the government resumed the Town Deal, it announced that the 100 towns could bid for £1 million of this money, which they would receive more quickly. Today’s announcement confirms Colchester’s successful bid.
We Are Colchester is a dynamic partnership involving public, private and voluntary organisations that formed in January 2020. Its Chair, local businessman Simon Blaxill, was thrilled at the news, saying: “This money provides us with a fantastic opportunity to make Balkerne Gate and St Nicholas Square much more attractive and will encourage more people into the town centre at this difficult time.”
Cllr David King, Colchester Council Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, who also Chairs the We Are Colchester Advisory Group, added: “This initial £1 million will help us deliver a big improvement at both ‘gateway to Colchester’ locations. We want a safe, vibrant and attractive social hub for people to meet and sit outside, helping to blend the day and night-time economies and boosting footfall.
“This can only help nearby retail and hospitality businesses and the jobs they sustain and provide another attractive setting for Colchester residents and visitors.”
We Are Colchester’s bid for the remaining £24 million will be submitted at the end of October. It expects to hear before February 2021 whether it has been successful.
In August, a public consultation was undertaken to help inform the projects that are included in the bid. The issues identified as being most important to the people of Colchester include making the town greener; improving cycle lanes and providing greater opportunities for young people.
More information on the Town Fund can be found here