TWO hundred brightly coloured umbrellas are set to be suspended above a popular shopping area in Colchester town centre.

The umbrellas will be strung from cables above Sir Isaac’s Walk, spanning 87 metres long.

They are set to be installed overnight on March 4 and 5 and have been masterminded by Colchester Council.

It says some of the umbrellas will be illuminated, in a bid to make a “striking display that will be visible to visitors both day and night.”

The umbrellas will stay into the darker months of next autumn.

However, the cables can remain in place and used for other seasonal or themed displays in future years.

A council spokesman added: “Local business and property owners have been very supportive of the scheme, which is expected to encourage more visitors to the town and increase footfall in Sir Isaac’s Walk and surrounding areas.”

Property owners in Sir Isaac’s Walk have given the council permission for the umbrellas.

They are part of a £2million project under the Better Colchester Scheme which includes improving lighting of Colchester Castle and a section of the town’s Roman Wall.

These projects are due for completion later this year.

The council has been working with various other agencies to look at how the lighting of the wall could be best delivered.

Plans for the castle lighting could include new LED, colour-changing lighting which will be installed in a small bunker to improve the aesthetics of the area.

Work to illuminate the High Street war memorial is also due to begin in the spring.

The new scheme will see uplighters placed at the front and side of the landmark.

The umbrella plans are subject to a licence being granted by Essex County Council, planning approval and listed building consent.

Applications have been put in.