Save Colchester Town campaign relaunched by businesses

Colchester High Street

Colchester High Street - Credit: Su Anderson

Small businesses have relaunched their Save Colchester Town campaign in response to a perceived threat from out-of-town retailers.

The campaign, led by the Colchester Retail/Business Association (CORBA), was first created in 2013 to address traffic problems in the town centre with concerns over the introduction of experimental bus lanes.

Now those involved have reunited in opposition to plans for a retail and leisure parks in Stanway at the edge of Colchester, which they say would cause “irreversible harm” to the town centre.

Members have already submitted formal objections to planning applications on the schemes.

Michelle Reynolds, CORBA chairman, said: “The proposed development at Tollgate would destroy the town centre and so many businesses located there, and the expert advice we’ve seen also shows it’s utterly contrary to local and national planning policy. On these points alone local councillors should refuse the planning application.

“The response from local people has been astonishing, people are genuinely frightened about local shops closing.

“We’re urging people to support us or lose us.

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“I would encourage anyone who uses the town centre to write to Colchester Borough Council and object to the Tollgate application before it is considered by the planning committee.”

David Robertson, Culver Square centre manager, added: “It has been proven time and again that what you do with huge free parking out-of-town centres affects local independents.

“We need to be supporting our independent quarter. I know they are very worried.

“But it is a strong town and is going to get stronger. We need to be proud of it and protect it.

“If Colchester is successful we will all be successful.”