THE restoration of Jumbo is edging closer, with a bid for £1 million to start the first phase of works on the water tower submitted to the Government.

The We Are Colchester partnership has submitted an investment plan to the Government in the form of its Town Deal bid.

Amongst the proposals, the group hopes to secure £1 million for the first phase of vital restorations work on the iconic, Grade II listed Victorian water tower.

Charity North Essex Heritage has been working behind the scenes with Paul Flatman, owner of the structure, Colchester Council and other partners to ensure the tower is brought back into sustainable use, which could include a restaurant in the sky and heritage centre

David King, Colchester Council’s business and resources chief, said the Town Deal cash would help enable further funding bids for the restoration.

He said: “The Town Deal represents an opportunity to secure the future of Jumbo and help facilitate public access. This is definitely our best opportunity in recent times.

“There is still a long way to go but it will really help to have significant contributions behind the project.

“There is no question of where people’s hearts are with regards Jumbo, everyone is on the same page. Jumbo is such a iconic and critical part of our heritage we must try and make it happen this time.”

North Essex Heritage is awaiting reports of a survey investigating structural damage to the building, before applying for grants for the restoration works.

Simon Hall, chairman of the charity, said: “Jumbo is such an iconic part of the Colchester landscape and dominates the Balkerne Gate entrance to the town, so we must create an integrated solution.

“It is exciting to have this opportunity and we must make the outcome something we can all be truly proud of and which is recognised nationally for its quality.”

Jumbo has stood empty for more than 30 years and the condition of the tower has significantly deteriorated.

It is now on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register.