COLCHESTER has been given £173,000 to draw up a plan to transform the town centre.

It has been chosen to bid for up to £25 million to develop a regeneration plan.

A total of 100 towns have been invited to create proposals by the Government.

Colchester Council has been given £173,029 to draw up proposals to bid for the cash.

It will be used to set up a “Town Deal Board” by January and formulate a plan by next summer.

But Government guidance warned councils could forfeit the chance to be awarded cash if they are “not content with the quality of proposals”.

A document setting out guidance for authorities across the country said: “Agreeing a Town Deal with investment from the Towns Fund of up to £25 million per place will be dependent on government receiving high-quality proposals that meet the objective of the fund.”

David King, Colchester Council’s councillor responsible for business, said it is a fantastic opportunity for the town.

He said: “This is a very welcome announcement.

“The council is now preparing to work with our key local partners, including the Business Improvement District Our Colchester, academic institutions such as the University of Essex, major employers and local groups and interests, to develop a Town Deal Board by January and will then submit a Town Investment Plan to Government in summer 2020.

“This work builds upon recent commitment by the council to bring forward a vision for the town centre.

“This really is a fantastic opportunity for Colchester and will help ensure our town is a thriving place for people to live and work, attracts further investment in the town centre, provides space needed to support local skills and business development, and develops the optimum infrastructure and connectivity.”