£18.2 million investment which could completely transform Essex town

Britain’s oldest town is set to be given £18.2 million by the government in an investment to rejuvenate the area.

Colchester was awarded the large sum from the Government’s Town Deal fund to invest in projects which will directly benefit residents across the borough, including digital working hubs and the accelerated introduction of 5G.

We are Colchester has confirmed a set of projects to be delivered as part of the Town Deal Fund to the Government to give the town a boost.

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The projects were developed by residents to identify their priorities. Over 1000 people submitted their views last summer and these were used to refine several projects located across the town. We Are Colchester submitted the project plans to the government on June 14, 2021.

We Are Colchester was formed in January 2020. It is a dynamic partnership involving public, private and voluntary organisations, including Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council and Colchester’s MP Will Quince.

Councillor Paul Dundas, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that the We Are Colchester partnership continues to drive this work forward.

“I believe an excellent set of projects have been submitted, which focus on key priorities identified by Colchester residents and local businesses.

“This multi-million pound investment in the Borough is crucial in terms of economic recovery. It provides a huge confidence boost for local businesses, helping to both create and sustain local jobs.”

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Simon Blaxill, chair of the ‘We are Colchester’ board and local businessman, added: “I am pleased that we are moving to the next stage with these great projects. I look forward to continuing to engage local people and businesses with the projects as they develop.”

Councillor Lesley Wagland, Essex County Council cabinet member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “The Town Deal represents a fantastic investment into Colchester town and one which will benefit residents now and in the future.

“It is direct result of effective partnership working between Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council and key local partners.”

Colchester has already received an additional ‘accelerated’ £1m Town Deal funding which has enabled two key public realm schemes at St Nicholas Square and Balkerne Gate to proceed; these are now entering their final design and construction stages.

We Are Colchester now has until March next year to submit detail business cases for each project to the Government. After that, funds will be released, and projects will be completed by 2026.

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Here is the full list of We Are Colchester projects:

· Creation of digital working hubs

· Transforming facilities for young people

· A digital skills hub at the Wilson Marriage Centre (Magdalene Street)

· Public realm improvements in the town centre

· Restoration of Holy Trinity Church (Lion Walk) and the first phase in restoring ‘Jumbo’

· Transformation of community facilities in Greenstead

· The accelerated introduction of 5G

· Improved walking and cycling links between the Town Centre, Greenstead and the University.

Essex Live – Colchester