Funding blow for river barrier plan

A TOWN which looks to have lost out on £13.5 million funding for a major regeneration project should do all it can to push on with the scheme, it has been claimed.

A TOWN which looks to have lost out on £13.5 million funding for a major regeneration project should do all it can to push on with the scheme, it has been claimed.

Colchester was hoping to secure the multi-million pound finance package for a barrier to retain a high water level of the River Colne at the Hythe.

The area is one of the town's four regeneration zones and was once integral for shipping and industry but has become run down in recent years and lost its port status.

The introduction of a lock system to retain a high water level is a major part of the regeneration plan to attract developers to build homes, businesses and bring in more investment.


You may also want to watch:


But a bid from the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) for £13.5 million of Government funds appears to have failed with no confirmation that the scheme was among the successful proposals.

Although John Reynolds, chairman of EERA's regional planning panel, has not ruled out the money, both councillors and pressure groups think they will now have to look elsewhere for funds.

Most Read

Mr Reynolds said: "The fact that the funding is not there does not mean it will not come. EERA is continuing to press for more money and believe all the schemes merit funding and are all necessary.

"The schemes put forward are still essential and still needed, the fact that the funding is not there does not mean it will not come in as the money has come in dribs and drabs."

Last night the Colne Harbour Group, which was set up to campaign for the barrier, said the scheme was vital for the town.

Founder member, Bertram Rope said: "Colchester badly needs it, it really is the last river port on the east coast which has not had a great heap of money poured in to it to help regeneration.

"The development can still be done without the barrier, but it will be nothing like so attractive.

"Everything for the project is coming together except the barrier, but I think a lot of the councillors think if it is happening without the barrier, then why have the barrier?"

He suggested the other three regeneration projects – St Botolph's, Mile End and the Garrison – were higher on the borough council's agenda.

"There is enormous potential, it is a high quality development and the town needs it, we, as a group, have no vested interests and Colchester needs this regeneration, everyone else has it, why shouldn't we?"

Robert Davidson, Colchester borough council's portfolio holder for regeneration, said he would be doing all he could do attract other sources of funding.

"If the rumours that the funding bid has been unsuccessful are true, then I am bitterly disappointed.

"But while there is hope we will persevere with that and whatever opportunities that will bring the capital to make the barrage.

"There are lots of priorities in the four regeneration projects and it just happens that the funding has come together for the Visual Arts Facility."

No one from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was available for comment last night.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter