Park & ride for Colchester will boost economy despite loss of £300k parking income

Artist's impression of how an office development in Sheepen Road, Colchester, could look

Artist's impression of how an office development in Sheepen Road, Colchester, could look - Credit: Archant

Park and ride in Colchester is a great opportunity for the town insists a senior councillor – despite it costing the borough council £300k in lost income in its first year.

Colchester Borough Council (CBC) has removed £300,000 of parking income from its provisional budget next year as it factors in the loss of earnings caused by people using park and ride.

The facility is set to open at the end of March next year.

However despite the loss of income, CBC is now looking to develop some of its car parks as the spaces become redundant and create new investment opportunities.

Talks are ongoing with a developer for a new shopping centre at Vineyard Gate, and CBC’s cabinet is set to discuss the plans in a private meeting tonight.

The authority is now also looking to develop the southern part of the Sheepen Road car park to create a new office building and let it out for 20 years.

Although the council has not revealed more details of the potential income at this stage, saying they are commercially sensitive, it could generate £137,000 of business rates each year.

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CBC also hopes to get planning permission for another section of the site, which it can then either develop itself or sell at a higher value with planning consent.

Anne Turrell, councillor for regeneration at CBC, said: “It all complements each other.

“Park and ride will reduce congestion in the town centre which makes it that much more people-friendly, and will make it easier for shoppers as park and ride is usually most used by commuters.

“It also creates jobs.

“The Sheepen Road development will benefit Colchester and it helps us commercially.

“We are losing more and more grant from the government every year, and although it will be a year or more until it is dne the income means we can continue to provide services to the people of Colchester, such as collecting the rubbish.

“Colchester at the moment is doing very well. We have low unemployment and are creating more jobs. They are not great numbers on their own but they add up to some good numbers.

“As a whole the future of Colchester looks very bright, with other things such as the Curzon cinema coming to Queen Street.

“They are all on their way but it all takes so long.”