Colchester’s shoppers and commuters will finally get to ride new, ‘desperately needed’ park and ride buses

The Colchester Park and Ride

The Colchester Park and Ride - Credit: Su Anderson

After years of waiting people visiting Colchester will finally be able to whizz into town on its first park and ride.

Speaking last night an Essex councillor said she was “overjoyed” the long-awaited scheme is finally due to open on Monday.

The service, which will link a base at Mile End with the town centre, will offer return services for £3 every 15 minutes.

There are 1,000 secure parking spaces at the main site with stops including the railway station, St John’s Street and Head Street.

And when the service first opens travel will be free for all passengers for “a short period” according to Essex County Council.

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Anne Turrell, Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio holder for economic development and regeneration, said she was delighted the scheme had finally come to fruition.

“The word overjoyed is right,” she said. “I’m really excited that at last we have a park and ride that we need.

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“This is what I have been trying to get Essex (County Council) to do for us and it’s happened.

“I just can’t wait for it to get up and running.”

Mrs Turrell has also represented Mile End ward on the council and said it is a highly congested area.

She the park and ride’s introduction would go some way to reducing this along with encouraging people not to use the car for short trips.

She also said the free parking was an incentive for people to use the bus but wouldn’t be open to abuse by those not travelling.

“There’s nothing up there for them to park there for,” she said. “Except possibly on match days there should be no problem.

“The park and ride is totally and utterly aimed at commuters and shoppers.”

Margaret Fisher, who represents Abbey (the division in the centre of Colchester), said the idea of making the park and ride free at first was to “test the usage”.

“It’s been desperately needed,” she said. “I think originally the view was that it should be in the east part of the town but after the (Weston Homes) Community Stadium was built and the new junction on the A12 it was obvious people could just as easily get to the north.

“Depending on the take-up a stop outside the hospital may be considered.”

Mrs Fisher added she hoped the park and ride would encourage more people to visit Colchester “instead of people going to Ipswich with it’s own park and ride or Cambridge or Norwich or Chelmsford”.

“We’re the only significant large town in East Anglia that doesn’t have a park and ride.”

The park and ride will use the new Northern Approach Road 3, named Via Urbis Romanae, which was opened on Wednesday.

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