AMBITIOUS plans have been put forward to save Colchester town centre.

Town centre firms will now be given the chance to vote on the proposals.

The manifesto sets out plans to increase street cleaning as well as new campaigns being launched to bring more people into Colchester.

Street ambassadors would also be appointed to take action on rough sleeping and antisocial behaviour, if the proposals are accepted.

As part of the Business Improvement District plans, an Independent Business Project Fund will also be set up which will be used to make shoppers more aware of the town’s more boutique shops.

Leaders also say the night time economy will be “marketed more pro-actively” while it is also a priority to improve town centre safety in the evenings.

A loyalty and reward scheme for office workers would also be set up in a bid to help Colchester attract the best candidates for jobs against rival towns.

The blueprint to rejuvenate the town was put forward by Our Colchester leaders in front of dozens of firms at town centre nightspot Atik last night.

Throughout June, businesses will be given the chance to vote on the plans.


A map of where the BID will cover 

To succeed, at least half of businesses, small and large, must back them in the vote.

Steve Sleigh, owner at town centre firm Mailboxes Etc, said: “Imagining a Colchester town centre that is really well co-ordinated and managed, heightening the great independents we have is exciting.

“A thriving town is good for everyone that does business from filling restaurants, to shopping, to events generating further footfall.

“With the Tollgate development on the horizon, the BID will better ensure our town stays the beating economic heart of our community.”

Craig Newnes, McDonalds Colchester franchise owner, said: “Colchester needs to stay a great destination for its residents and visitors.

“The proposals set out will make a real difference to the Colchester town centre experience.

“Any retailer or leisure operator will tell you customer experiences are becoming even more important as a factor in where people decide to spend their money.”

Alice Charrington, who owns the popular Tymperleys tea room, added: “A well-managed and co-ordinated Colchester which engages with and highlights the amazing independent businesses in the town is a great goal to be working towards.

“I’m really excited that this is now a tangible possibility.”

Scott Morgan, business manager of National Car Parks Ltd, said: “NCP have had great success with BIDs in other towns and cities and have gained excellent support from a promotional, data sharing and training perspective.

“NCP see the BID in Colchester as a fantastic way of coming together as a town growing commercial relationships, raising public awareness of our retail offerings and increasing customer footfall and improving on the already positive customer experience.”

If a ballot is successful, the BID levy is mandatory for all eligible businesses for a maximum term of five years.

Last night’s launch was the first time business owners found out exactly how much they would have to pay into the central pot.

Only firms in premises with a rateable value of £14,999 or above will be asked to pay the levy. The fee will be calculated at 1.5 per cent of premises’ rateable value.

The least a business will have to pay is about £220.

For the group’s full manifesto, go to