Colchester: Retailers unveil route for ‘The Shops on the Walls’

Shoppers in Sir Isaac's Walk, Colchester.

Shoppers in Sir Isaac's Walk, Colchester.

Independent retailers in Colchester are hoping to develop an area of the town so it becomes a well-known shopping destination similar to the Brighton or Norwich Lanes.

Members of Colchester Retail Business Association (CoRBA) have formed a steering committee to get the project off the ground, which this week finalised a route and a name for the area.

The agreed route takes in independent shops from Balkerne Gate, along Sir Isaac’s Walk, Eld Lane and Short Wyre Street, down to Priory Street, and has been rebranded The Shops on the Walls.

Secretary of CoRBA Ron Levy said: “The route follows the old Roman wall and to the south of the town the shops are actually built on the wall – many still have ancient basements that take you through to the streets at the back.

“We spent quite some time discussing the name and, in time, my feeling is the area will become known as simply ‘The Walls’.”

The group hopes that rebranding the area and marketing the route as one retail experience will enhance Colchester’s reputation as a destination for shopping and offset the competition from internet shopping.

They have met with Michael Loveday of the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust to find out about the approach he took to developing The Lanes in the Norfolk town.

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They have also attracted in-kind marketing funding from the owners of nearby Culver Square and £5,000 from Colchester Borough Council.

The council’s portfolio holder for business and resources, Paul Smith, said: “The development of a ‘Walls/Lanes’ retail experience was identified as part of the Better Town Centre improvement programme. With retailers working together, they will be providing an experience online stores cannot match.”