A RETAIL leader has urged a council to revive ambitious plans to model Colchester’s independent shopping areas on Brighton’s Lanes.

The Shops on the Walls scheme, earmarked for streets such as Sir Isaac’s Walk and Eld Lane, has stalled due to lack of investment.

The idea, first mooted back in 2010, is to create a high quality shopping area, similar to Brighton’s famous shopping area.

Now Nick Chilvers, former Colchester retail manager, has called on Colchester Council to consider the bid again.

The council’s policy and public initiatives panel will hear from Mr Chilvers at a meeting next week.

Mr Chilvers said small traders in the town needed to be supported in order to compete against online and out of town retail parks. He said: “The number of town centre independents is dwindling.

“They need some positive, practical TLC from Colchester Council.

“Many of them occupy units along Sir Isaac’s Walk, Eld Lane, Trinity and Short Wyre streets in the old heart of town.

“I’d argue we don’t need more shops in the centre; we need to look after the ones we’ve got.

“Years ago Colchester Council talked about giving the area I described an identity, the Walls. That seems to have been shelved while attention turned to larger projects. I say it should be revived with urgency.

“Colchester Council could facilitate real difference within 12 months for a relatively low cost but it needs the will and cash injection.” Mr Chilvers has suggested a number of ideas in a report, which will go before the panel.

He said: “It will need three entrance arches, permanent identity flags, good quality bunting, street art and coloured street furniture, better lighting, decent floral displays, generous Christmas lights and so on.

“Things to enhance the area. Make it ‘edgy’ but essentially commercial. Have dedicated pitches for approved street entertainers. No need for big street events. They are usually a shopping distraction and jam the streets up.

“Trinity Church is a gem. It leads to a Walls area and should be the town’s central focal point. Its tower ought to be the Christmas highlight.”

Mr Chilvers also suggested traders being involved along with Firstsite and the council.