Plans to restore Jumbo water tower and build restaurant move forward

An artist's impression of how the Jumbo Water Tower could look

An artist's impression of how the Jumbo Water Tower could look - Credit: Purcell Architects

Campaigners hoping to restore Colchester’s Jumbo water tower are celebrating an agreement which gives them control of the landmark building.

The building’s owner, Paul Flatman, has agreed to lease the Grade ll* listed water tower to North Essex Heritage for 150 years, helping kickstart the long-awaited project to restore the disused Victorian tower and bring it into a financially sustainable use.

Jumbo water tower

Dominic Flatman, Paul Flatman, Adrian Pritchard, Chief Executive, Colchester Borough Council, Simon Blaxill, Chair, We Are Colchester partnership, Cllr Darius Laws and Simon Hall MBE DL, Chairman of North Essex Heritage. - Credit: North Essex Heritage

The charity has plans to convert the 34 metre tower, which is of national heritage importance, into a destination venue, restaurant, visitor experience and historical interpretation space.

Simon Hall MBE, Chairman of North Essex Heritage, said: “This is wonderful news for Colchester and for Jumbo, which we know is a much-loved part of our town. The co-operation of Jumbo’s owner means we can finally move forward with this community project after this unique building has stood unused for some 37 years.

“These are exciting times. The lease, together with the £1m from We Are Colchester’s Town Deal Fund bid and continued support from Historic England, means the future is bright."

Paul Flatman and his son Dominic said: “We are very pleased to have been able to agree an acceptable way forward for all concerned. We look forward to contributing to North Essex Heritage’s efforts to achieve completion of the project with the assistance of grant funders and the people of Colchester.”

The Jumbo water tower in Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Jumbo water tower in Colchester - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colchester Borough councillor Darius Laws, portfolio holder for economy, business and heritage said: “Jumbo is an iconic feature of Colchester’s skyline and I am thrilled it can now be utilised to its full potential, to be enjoyed and cherished by residents and visitors alike."

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Historic England previously awarded a project development grant of £20,000 to support investigative works at the Balkerne Water Tower which identified some significant structural concerns and a plan to halt the deterioration and repair it.

Tony Calladine, regional director, Historic England (East of England), said: “The ‘Jumbo’ Water Tower is a significant and much-loved local landmark in Colchester. As the tallest and most intact municipal water tower in England, it is a nationally important heritage site. Although there are challenges ahead for Jumbo, I’m delighted to see the future of this important building secured."

The Jumbo water tower in Colchester. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Jumbo water tower in Colchester - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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