What do you think of these plans to create a 'public space' in Colchester?
- Credit: HAT Projects
The people of Colchester have been asked for their views on exciting plans to transform St Nicholas Square into a public space - bringing al fresco dining to the town centre.
The initial plans, derived by Colchester Borough Council and local architects HAT Projects, were created after the council was awarded £1million from the Accelerated Town Deal to create two public spaces.
One is planned for Balkerne Gate outside the Mercury Theatre and the second in St Nicholas Square, which sits just off the high street at the eastern side of the town centre.
The first designs show the area being revamped to create a space where people can meet, eat outside, visit new market stalls and attend events.
Colchester Borough Council said redesigning the space is a "great opportunity to bring this area of town to life" and is calling for members of the town to share their thoughts.
A number of businesses have already got behind the plans including the Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester, which said it was "very excited" by the designs.
The bar is based in St Nicholas Street, and would benefit from the al-fresco dining opportunities.
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Meanwhile, David King, Colchester Liberal Democrat councillor, said the plans will lead to "less traffic, more trees and public realm", adding it will be a nice place to sit, walk or meet up in better times.
The St Nicholas Square project is due to be completed later in 2021.
What is included in the proposals?
- Space for market stalls and events
- Wider, better pavements and space for pedestrians
- Space for bars, cafes and restaurants around the square to have outdoor seating
- More cycle parking
- A space less dominated by cars and traffic
- New paving and landscaping throughout the square and through into Lion Walk Shopping
- More trees to green the square, create shade in the summer and improve climate resilience.
The proposal states that the existing yew trees, which are not in good health, will be removed and the existing horse chestnut tree will be retained and pruned into a better shape.
How you can share your views
An online survey has been launched and will run until Friday, March 19.
Here, residents will get the opportunity to see initial proposals for the space, which is set to be transformed into an attractive new area where people can meet, relax and enjoy the surroundings.
An online webinar will also be held on Tuesday, March 2, at 6pm, where the project’s designers, local architects HAT Projects, will present the plans and answer questions and feedback on the initial ideas.
Councillor David King, portfolio holder for business and resources, said: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to present initial plans for what promises to be a very exciting new public space.
"This investment will be a real boost for local retail and hospitality businesses, and I am extremely pleased work on this project is moving forward.
“I would encourage local stakeholders and interested parties to join the webinar to hear more about the proposal for a safe and vibrant social hub in the heart of our town centre.”
Hana Loftus, director at HAT Projects, added: “We have been working hard, behind the scenes, with local businesses and user groups to develop designs that are both practical and beautiful.
“We now really want to hear what the wider community thinks – and we’ll then be refining the designs in response to feedback.
“St Nicholas’ Square is a wonderful and historic space, but it has not been used to its full potential for some time, so we are excited to help it become a vibrant space for the future.”