An ambitious multi-million-pound regeneration plan for the future of “Colchester's gateway” has been unveiled, showcasing the new St Botolph's Circus vision. It follows a consultation involving over 2,000 local people who had a say in shaping the future of the city for decades to come.
Over the summer months, Essex and Colchester councils engaged with the community to gather insights into their preferences, ideas, and concerns regarding the Colchester City Centre Masterplan. The aim was to ensure that the vision for the future of Colchester city centre is shaped by the community it serves.
Of the 2,000 respondents, over 530 provided their views on the critically and strategically important St Botolph's development. Many of those who participated live in the vicinity of St Botolph's or use it regularly as a transport gateway. Their support to improve and modernize the area has put both councils on the path to give the “green light” for the project. The project aims to improve accessibility while connecting the area to the city centre, creating a better balance between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists for decades to come.
There was also strong support for the need to improve the look and feel of the area, remove the outdated underpasses, and reclaim road space to create a vibrant public space that will contribute to the regeneration of the city centre.
However, during the consultation, a conversation point surrounded the proposed crossroad design, with concerns raised about potential congestion, traffic movement, and the duration of construction. Having listened to these views, the councils have revisited the plans to make significant adjustments. They have maintained a smaller roundabout design which will better support traffic flow, while also offering the opportunity to regenerate the area, improve walking and cycling links, and retain the much-needed accessibility improvements.
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council, welcomed the proposed changes, stating: “Both Councils, as Team Colchester, are doing all we can to consult and listen, to welcome support and challenge from any, like us, who care deeply about their city. We thank the thousands of constituents who have shared their views. We are pleased to adapt our St Botolph’s Circus plans in response to them. It is exciting that we can work in such a collaborative way, to shape the future of our city together.”
Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “As Team Colchester, it brings me immense joy to witness the remarkable collaboration that has gone into this extraordinary project. The redevelopment of St Botolph's Circus will revolutionise connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, allowing them to seamlessly coexist. By reclaiming road space, people can now relax and enjoy exciting new businesses and pop-up retail experiences. This remarkable scheme meets the needs of our community today and for the decades to come.”
The St Botolph's Circus redevelopment marks the beginning of wider regeneration plans for the area. This includes laying the foundations for a future bus interchange and a new heritage walking route from St Botolph's Circus, through St Botolph's Priory, to Colchester Castle, encouraging visitors to explore the city's rich history and awe-inspiring past. This redevelopment will make better use of the existing bus and train station links as part of the wider city centre regeneration.
The funding for these projects includes £19.6 million from Levelling Up, £2.5 million from Section 106, and £19.2 million from the Town Deal. Together, the funding will contribute to regenerating Saint Nicholas Square, Balkerne Gate, improving cycling infrastructure, creating a new digital hub on the site of the old bus station, bringing heritage assets back into public use, and much more for Colchester's city centre.
The public is invited to ask questions and learn more about the Masterplan and St Botolph's Circus remodelling at an information event on Wednesday, 29th November, from 2 pm. This will be at the One Colchester Community Hub, 4-6 Long Wyre Street, Colchester CO1 1LH.
For more information on the Masterplan, visit www.colchester.gov.uk/colchester-city-centre
Page last reviewed: 9 November 2023