RESIDENTS are being asked to help shape the long-term future of Colchester as the town starts its recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

We Are Colchester, a partnership set up to submit a Town Deal bid to the Government’s Towns Fund this year, has launched a new survey asking for residents input on the future of the town.

The public are being asked ways to improve the town centre and the urban part of Colchester, in hopes of shaping the bid for up to £25 million in Government funding.

If the bid is successful, the money would be used to help lever in additional funding from other sources.

Work on the We Are Colchester plan had been delayed due to the impacts of coronavirus, but has now restarted.

Simon Blaxill, chairman of We Are Colchester, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for people to influence a clear long-term vision for the town that will see it adapt and evolve as the region’s economic centre.

"We look forward to hearing your suggestions for ways to help us shape these ambitious plans for the future.”

The survey asks residents their thoughts on the town at the moment whilst making a number of suggestions for improvements.

In the town centre this includes ideas such as public realm improvements, an increase in cafe culture, pop-up markets and less congestion.

Making Colchester greener is a key theme, with more plants, 20 miles an hour speed limits and better cycle lanes also on the agenda.

Outside the town centre, We Are Colchester is looking at ideas like better digital connectivity, better training opportunities and more things for young people to do as ways to improve the town.

Researchers will also be out and about in Colchester town centre in August completing face to face surveys.

Mark Cory, leader of Colchester Council and vice-chair of the We Are Colchester board, said: "This is your chance to have your say. We want to listen to bright ideas that will help us take the town forward, making the best use of the funding, to make our town shine.

"We are committed to maximising Colchester’s economic and cultural potential and doing so, with your involvement, in forward-thinking ways that can benefit our businesses and residents and help the borough recover from the social and economic shocks of coronavirus.

“We will use residents’ views together with key players in the town – such as small and bigger employers, the University of Essex, the voluntary sector, health and cultural organisations, and more – to make the most of this great opportunity. Please take your chance to be a part of it.”

The survey must be completed by August 17.