How Colchester will spend £18m in 'crucial' recovery from Covid lockdowns

Colchester has been awarded £18.2million from the government's Town Deal fund

Colchester has been awarded £18.2million from the government's Town Deal fund - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Colchester community leaders are set to approve spending £18.2million from the government's Town Deal fund to give businesses a "huge confidence boost".

Colchester Borough Council's cabinet is due to meet on Wednesday to give the green light to fund a series of projects aimed at helping the town recover from the Covid lockdowns.

The borough was awarded the cash in March this year, having originally bid for the full £25m available for towns in the scheme.

The project to redevelop the town is being led by the newly-created We are Colchester board, which will develop an investment plan under the broad themes of how we ‘live, grow, and connect’.

A report published by Colchester Borough Council ahead of Wednesday's meeting has advised the cabinet to agree to the financial parameters of the various projects in the scheme.

A new digital skills hub at the Wilson Marriage Centre is set to funded with £900,000, while £2.95m has been allocated to improve walking and cycling links between the town centre, Greenstead and the University of Essex campus.

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Also included in the report are proposals to spend £1m on improved youth provision in the town, £1m on 5G upgrades and £517,000 on the restoration of Holy Trinity Church.

As the total money awarded was £6.8m below the anticipated amount, several projects will receive less money than originally hoped - while other proposals have been entirely left out of the scheme.

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Planned £1.3m improvements of St Botolph's roundabout will not go ahead as part of the Town Deal transformation as a result.

Paul Dundas, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: "I am pleased that the We are Colchester partnership continues to drive this work forward.

Simon Blaxill, chair of the We are Colchester board

Simon Blaxill, chair of the We are Colchester board - Credit: Andrew Partridge

"I believe an excellent set of projects have been submitted, which focus on key priorities identified by Colchester residents and local businesses.

"This multi-million pound investment in the borough is crucial in terms of economic recovery. It provides a huge confidence boost for local businesses, helping to both create and sustain local jobs."

Simon Blaxill, chair of the ‘We are Colchester’ board, added: "I am pleased that we are moving to the next stage with these great projects.

"I look forward to continuing to engage local people and businesses with the projects as they develop."

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