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Colchester council to continue with regeneration project despite major funding setback

PUBLISHED: 09:17 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 28 May 2018

The area in Colchester town centre that the council is planning to regenerate. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

The area in Colchester town centre that the council is planning to regenerate. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Council leaders have pledged to continue with plans to build a ‘thriving’ gateway to boost Colchester’s charm – despite being denied £649,000 in a bid for funding.

The listed North Bridge, which will be refurbished should the project go ahead. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCILThe listed North Bridge, which will be refurbished should the project go ahead. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Colchester Borough Council (CBC) had hoped that support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) would kickstart the regeneration of the North Bridge Conservation Enhancement Area – a project which will extend the town centre conservation area from the foot of North Hill to The Albert roundabout.

However its bid for nearly £650,000 was rejected – meaning council leaders must scramble to find another source of funding.

Works were set to include the re-instatement of an historic avenue of trees, as well as grants for owners to repair historic buildings; refurbishment, paving and lighting of the listed North Bridge; and a makeover for the 19th century drinking fountain.

It is unclear how the money will be made up by the council, however it remains optimistic that the project will go ahead.

The area up for regeneration by Colchester Borough Council. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCILThe area up for regeneration by Colchester Borough Council. Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Martin Goss, CBC portfolio holder for waste, environment and transportation, said the council would be holding a series of meetings with potential stakeholders to discuss other options.

He said: “Although we are disappointed by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s decision, we still believe this area is worthy of conservation area status and improvement works.

“Our work will continue to bring the vision to reality for what will become a transformative project for all those who visit, live and work in Colchester.”

The project is backed by Greater Anglia and Essex County Council, as well as local charities.

It seeks to create a more welcoming and positive first impression of Colchester for those arriving in the town by train – while encouraging visitors to stay longer, shop and use the businesses along the North Station Road corridor.

An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed not to receive HLF funding. However we will continue to work together to contribute to promoting our councils’ aims and objectives for improving neighbourhood connectivity and encouraging sustainable modes of travel.”

Mr Goss added: “Rest assured, this will happen. The project is far from over and other options will be looked at.”

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