Campaign to save landmark water tower

THE most famous water tower in Essex and one of the defining landmarks of Colchester could be bought by the people of the town. That's the message from campaign group Save Jumbo for Colchester which is racing against the clock to raise thousands of pounds to give itself a fighting chance of winning the bidding when the Victorian structure comes up for auction next month.

THE most famous water tower in Essex and one of the defining landmarks of Colchester could be bought by the people of the town.

That's the message from campaign group Save Jumbo for Colchester which is racing against the clock to raise thousands of pounds to give itself a fighting chance of winning the bidding when the Victorian structure comes up for auction next month.

The EADT revealed last week how the 131ft tower will go under the hammer in London and amazingly does not have a reserve price.

And the auctioneer has added to the tension, saying Jumbo could sell for anything from £1,000 to £1 million.


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Although the successful bidder will also benefit from planning permission to create a luxury penthouse overlooking the Essex town, Save Jumbo for Colchester have pledged to open up the building to visitors.

Within days of the news the group has received £10,000 from donors, including a £5,000 gift and is hoping more people will come forward with major contributions.

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They have set up a company limited by guarantee, meaning people who put money in will only be liable for that amount and nothing more.

Brian Light, of Save Jumbo for Colchester, said if the bid was successful the building could be opened up for public tours as soon as it was made safe.

“There has been a lot of interest since the news broke and the more money we have the better as nobody knows what it will sell for.

“It would be nice if we had six months to take small amounts of money from people but there just isn't the time as there is less than three weeks to the auction now.

“This could be amazing for the people of Essex and we are also hoping the blue badge guides will agree to give tours.”

The group is now looking into the costs of insurance for the tours and the money needed to replace windows at the top and make the building safe.

Colchester Borough Council has ruled itself out of the bidding although it is not clear how much interest there will be from private buyers.

Jumbo was at the centre of a bitter seven-year battle for planning permission to transform it into a luxury penthouse.

But after getting the green light for the extensive work in 2001 the owners, Jumbo Colchester Ltd, stalled before deciding to sell.

Planning permission still remains although consent for the work runs out at the end of the year.

The auction will take place on February 16 at the Cumberland Hotel

n Anyone interested in finding out more about the appeal should go to www.savejumbo.org.uk or contact Mr Light on 01206 541210.

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