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MP hits out at £100,000 elephant planned for Colchester roundabout

PUBLISHED: 14:59 26 February 2019

A CGI of the proposed giant elephant at the Albert Roundabout in Colchester. Image: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

A CGI of the proposed giant elephant at the Albert Roundabout in Colchester. Image: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

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Colchester's elephants are popular residents of the town's zoo - but plans to bring a new one nearer the town centre have not gone down well with the town's MP Will Quince or his Conservative colleagues.

Colchester council plans to install a large bronze elephant sculpture on the Albert Roundabout outside the town’s main railway station to highlight the start of the newly-waymarked route to the town centre.

The £100,000 project is due to be discussed by councillors from the Liberal Democrat/Labour-run authority on Thursday – but Mr Quince has taken to Twitter to urge them to reject the proposal.

He said: “Colchester Council has decided to spend £100,000 of your infrastructure money on a giant elephant sculpture on the Albert Roundabout.

“I think this is unjustifiable – if you agree, please contact your local councillor and let them know what you think.”

The sculpture is part of the “Fixing the Link” initiative aimed at encouraging people to walk from the station to the town centre – the elephant is part of a well-known Colchester legend.

A council spokesman said: “We set aside around £100,000 New Homes Bonus several years ago to support this phase of the ambitious Fixing the Link project being undertaken and funded with Essex County Council and Greater Anglia.

“The innovative scheme is being discussed by the Planning Committee on Thursday. If approved, it will provide an iconic addition to our borough with a wayfinding elephant sculpture directing people visiting the borough along an improved walking route from Colchester Station to our town centre.

“The cost of the project also includes the installation of 52 LED lights, enhanced CCTV and landscaping. The design is inspired by tales of Emperor Claudius’s dramatic arrival into Colchester with a herd of elephants to celebrate the victory of the Roman invasion in 43 AD, and if agreed it will help create a positive first impression for people coming to Colchester by rail.

“It forms part of longer term regeneration plans for North Station Road where we are seeking to create a conservation area status, providing buildings and the area greater protection. We have also been working to get some grant funding to improve some of the buildings in the road and the historic bridge crossing the river Colne.”

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