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.

Ward councillor Tim Young said similar regenerations of Greenstead had been planned in the past, but were halted by Government austerity measures following the 2008 financial crash.

He said: “There are some words in the report I wouldn’t necessarily agree with, like Greenstead being called a ‘left behind community’, the area has a very proud and strong community, but if it brings investment into Greenstead then of course it should be welcomed.

“I am glad the partnership has recognised Greenstead needs investment and I am pleased to see work which was done previously being built on.

“£40 million is a good amount of money and some of the schemes seem exciting and innovative such as the bike rental scheme around the new community centre.

“Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed the cash is secured.”

The proposals can only progress if the Town Deal bid is successful.