COLCHESTER is one of 101 towns in Britain chosen to bid for up to £25 million in funding from the Government's Towns Fund.

To secure the investment the We Are Colchester partnership has put together a Town Deal investment plan for the town, hoping to secure around £94 million in total investment for the town.

Here is what we know about the bid:

Investment in key town centre sites

FIVE key sites in Colchester town centre will be prioritised for regeneration as part of Colchester’s bid to secure up to £25 million in Government funding.n.

A range of schemes to improve the town centre are planned and the partnership hopes to secure a total of £6.6 million funding to invest in public realm improvements.

Five key areas in the town will be prioritised - Vineyard Gateway, the old Essex County Hospital Site, Balkerne Gate, Holy Trinity Square and St Nicholas Square.

Cash will also be invested in reviving historic buildings, including £1 million for the first phases of restoring Jumbo and £517,000 to bring grade-I listed Holy Trinity Church back into use.

The partnership has already secured £1 million of the bid to start revamps of Balkerne Gate and St Nicholas Square, however another £1.1 million is needed to complete the Balkerne Gate project.

At Vineyard Gate, the group is asking for £1 million from the Government, which will in turn unlock a further £14 million investment.

The exact nature of the project is unclear, however proposals for the area have been in the pipeline for more than a decade.

The bid also includes requests for funding of £500,000 for Holy Trinity Square, near the historic church, £500,000 for the old hospital site and £1.5 million to create “kerbless green streets” for pedestrianised areas in the town centre.

Heart of Greenstead

A PLAN to invest £40 million in a bid to revitalise Colchester’s most deprived area with new high-quality housing and community space has been unveiled.

We Are Colchester hopes to secure £6.7 million via its Town Deal bid to invest in a huge new project for Greenstead.

Dubbed Heart of Greenstead, the project will draw additional outside funding of £33.3 million and see investment made in new homes, a community centre and open space on the estate, which is the only area in the town which is amongst the ten per cent most deprived areas in England.

A total of 139 homes are planned, with between 30 and 100 per cent being affordable or council-owned properties.

About 3,600 sqm, or the size of half a football pitch, of public realm will be redeveloped to complement the creation of the new community centre at the heart of the estate.

Investment is also set to be made in turning the area into a “liveable neighbourhood” which will prioritise walking and cycling and complement the creation of a new route linking the estate with the town centre and university.

A bike loan scheme for Greenstead would be created and as many as 1,620 bikes could be available for residents of the area.

Digital infrastructure is also set to be upgraded whilst a new Civic Universities Agreement with the University of Essex could strengthen the connection between the area and education facility.

Linking up the town

ALMOST £9 million could be invested in upgrading one of Colchester busiest roundabouts to make it better for cyclists and walkers.

The We Are Colchester partnership is bidding to secure £1.3 million from the Government’s Towns Fund to invest at St Botolph’s roundabout.

A scheme, worth a total of £8.9 million has been developed to improve accessibility into the town centre from Colchester Town Station.

Linking to this, a new walking and cycling route joining Colchester town centre with Greenstead and the University of Essex could be created at a cost of £4.2 million.

A total of £3 million will come from the Towns Fund, with another £1.3 million brought in to create the new route.

The partnership also wants to secure £2.1 million to create “Liveable Neighbourhoods” in Prettygate, Monkwick, Barn Hall and New Town.

These areas would see through traffic reduced by a range of measures in order to improve the street scenes, whilst further investment will also be made around schools.

Another £1.5 million is set to be invested in 5G provision if the bid is successful, bringing in £2.5 million outside funding.

Digital skills and young people

A NEW digital skills hub could created in Colchester as part of plans to secure around £4.5 million investment in young people and skills.

The partnership is hoping to secure £900,000 via its Town Deal bid in order to invest in creating the new centre at Wilson Marriage Centre, located off Barrack Street, the existing adult learning facility in Colchester.

The move would unlock £1.1 million further funding to make the project a reality.

The group also hopes to secure £2.4 million to invest in upgrading various youth facilities across Colchester, including for the creation of a new state-of-the-art Youth Zone facility somewhere in the town.

Run by charity OnSide, a Youth Zone is a building offering sports, training and recreational activities for youngsters.

If the Towns Fund bid is successful, a further £6.3 million will come from other sources to create the facility.

A £1 million bid has also been put forward for a new digital working hub and grow-on facility in Queen Street, which would create 48 jobs and represent a total of £5.5 million investment for the town.

What have people said about the bid?

Board Chair and local businessman, Simon Blaxill, said: “I believe that we have submitted a very strong bid for this money. The list of projects chosen, will make a long lasting, positive difference to our town.

“They will promote skills development, create jobs for local people, make our communities more attractive and with better facilities. The Town Deal provides Colchester with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our town an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Colchester Council's business and resources boss David King said: "We have already secured £1M. If successful, this further £25 million bid will enable big improvements to be made across the whole town.

"Our public consultations showed that people want Colchester to be ‘greener’, to provide greater opportunities for young people and to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.

“Local people want the town to be made more attractive and for improvements to be made to infrastructure. The projects that We Are Colchester have submitted to the Government address all these issues.

“With the help of other investors, we can make a huge difference to residents and help businesses and those they employ at this difficult time to have confidence in Colchester's future, as a great place to live, work and visit'."

Essex County Council's economic growth chief Tony Ball said: "The investment proposed as part of Town Deal submission to Government provides a great opportunity for sustainable economic growth in Colchester and its surrounding area.

“We have established a bold vision that will help the town to embrace the future, with a strong package of investment programmes and projects around active travel, employment and skills, regeneration, young people, heritage and culture.

“We look forward to continuing the work with the community, local stakeholders, Colchester Borough Council and Central Government to take forward the Town Deal bid and the many opportunities it offers.”

What happens next?

The Government is expected to make a decision over the bid by February, after which cash will start to be distributed.

The project will be delivered over the next few years.

Where can I find out more?

Residents can view the bid in more detail at