Parking in Colchester

The Council’s Off-Street Car Parking provision was last reviewed in 2009/10 with changes being implemented from April 2010. The charging strategy was based on a mixture of short and long stay with protection of the historic core as far as possible.

Since that strategy was adopted, a number of key aspects have changed. These drive the need for a new strategy to be produced suitable for the five to ten years.

Strategic Plan

Colchester City Council has adopted a new Strategic Plan (2020-23).

This sets out these priorities:
  • Tackling the climate challenge and leading sustainability – responding to the climate emergency, conserving, and enhancing biodiversity, enabling more opportunity for cycling and walking around Colchester
  • Creating safe, healthy, and active communities – building on community strengths and assets, tackling inequalities, supporting vulnerable people and providing opportunities for young people
  • Delivering homes for people who need them – increasing the number of homes, preventing homelessness, creating new communities, and adopting a new Local Plan2
  • Growing a better economy so everyone benefits – enabling economic recovery, working with partners to deliver a shared vision for a vibrant town, attracting inward investment
  • Celebrating our heritage and culture – agreeing a new Cultural Strategy, strengthening tourism, and protecting our unique heritage

Climate Emergency

In July 2019, Colchester City Council declared a climate emergency. Its Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. A number of these measures relate to sustainable travel and the role of parking.

Infrastructure changes

Over the last decade, Colchester has seen the implementation of Park & Ride.

Changes to several off-street parking areas have been completed. The town centre has seen the redevelopment of the St Botolphs car park for a Court building, redevelopment of the Lion Walk Shopping Centre, development of an office building on part of the Sheepen Road car park and replacement of the Priory Street car park with a quality facility.

Societal change & technological opportunities

The last decade has seen changes in public attitudes and the introduction of legislation that moves the expectations and options available in delivering a parking service. There is a significant structural change in the way people buy things and potentially permanent changes to the way people work and carry out ordinary activities that will arise as a result of the response to coronavirus.

Since 2010 there has also been a significant shift in new technologies. These are being applied to enable a big change in how the parking service is used and how it can be delivered. A particular example of this is MiPermit, the cashless payment system.

The Positive Parking Agenda

Allied to the wider shift in attitudes, Colchester City Council is a founder member of the Positive Parking Agenda.

It is an initiative to change perceptions, challenge misconceptions and improve understanding of the role that good parking management has in supporting a successful society. A renewed parking strategy will enable Colchester to deliver its commitment to the Agenda by providing a benchmark for other authorities to follow.

A Parking Strategy for 2020

This Parking Strategy adopts principles that apply throughout the City but also sets out how those principles will impact the strategic development of parking in Colchester Town. Updates to the specific strategies for parking applicable to the other satellite towns and parishes will be developed as required.

This strategy is focused on off-street parking. Residents’ parking and on-street pay and display is controlled by the highway authority, Essex County Council. More information about the management of on-street parking, and the way that Colchester City Council works collaboratively with the highway authority in its delivery of the parking service is contained in Appendix C: How parking is managed.


At the time of writing this strategy, the world is still struggling to contain and live with Covid-19.

This strategy does not make any further reference to Covid-19 on the basis that while it may impact how we do things in the future, both in the short term and potentially as a new, permanent, normal, it is not expected to change the fundamental principles set out at this time nor our common values.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the Council is facing a £2m funding gap in its budget to support essential services this year. It is anticipating a £3.5 million gap in the budget for the next financial year (2021/2022) and potential deficits thereafter for a number of years.

This will accelerate and influence some of the choices we make around when we can deliver on the principles. Similarly, the extent to which we have to ensure our services are adequately funded by those that use them and able to make a contribution to ensure we can continue to deliver critical services.

Page last reviewed: 15 May 2023