Cash to tackle drinking culture

COLCHESTER has won Government funding to help tackle a late night drinking culture.Nearly £20,000 of Home Office money has been earmarked to transform the town into the cosmopolitan capital of Essex.

COLCHESTER has won Government funding to help tackle a late night drinking culture.

Nearly £20,000 of Home Office money has been earmarked to transform the town into the cosmopolitan capital of Essex.

With holidaymakers returning from continental café culture, the town's chiefs have announced one of the world's leading town planners will be brought in to help diversify Colchester's nightlife.

Acknowledging a perception the town centre was blighted by a culture of anti-social behaviour by young people after 6pm, Colchester Borough Council is set to discuss the current plight at a meeting of its policy panel on Tuesday.


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Now STAND (Strategy to Tackle All Night-time Disorder) - a joint project between Colchester Town Partnership and the Colchester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership - has become only one of a handful of schemes to bid successfully for crime reduction initiatives.

Part of the money will be used to pay for Adelaide-based Dr John Montgomery, who was internationally acclaimed for his work creating Dublin's cultural Temple Bar quarter.

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He and colleague Dr John Williams will spend a week in Colchester visiting business leaders, councillors and community workers, as well as first hand experience of the town's nightlife, they before make their recommendations.

ChrisRawlinson, executive director of Colchester Town Partnership, who worked with Dr Montgomery to help transform Sunderland city centre, said she was "enormously excited" by the news.

She said: "Although he'll be here only a week, he will kick things off – he's coming at just the right time.

"There may well be soon a relaxation of the licensing laws and we have to think about how things will be. We want to bring more diversity to the town at night – it's not just about eating and drinking – we want more cultural things going on. Colchester has so much potential."

Colchester MP Bob Russell, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he hoped Dr Montgomery would be another in a long line of "outsiders" who had come to the town and made a difference.

He said: "We've had Romans, Normans and Saxons all come here, but they all stayed and made Colchester their home – they all had a feel for the place.

"We'll welcome Dr Montgomery's proposals – whether they get implemented is another question. It's for the democratically elected representatives to decide that."

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