Column: Colchester Council leader Mark Cory is looking forward with both caution and optimism.

I WRITE this column just as the Chancellor is making his statement on the spending review.

We understand he will announce greater infrastructure spending which I welcome and I hope we see investment in north Essex.

We face a tough balancing act as we move forward into winter, both with our personal actions towards Covid, as well as our approach as a council to support our local economy to recover.

Despite positive news on the Covid vaccines, these will take months to roll-out and give the whole community the protection it needs.

As a result, I recommend that we personally remain very cautious and follow the long-standing advice to protect ourselves and others.

On the recovery of our local economy, we take caution, but we must be bold in investing in our town and borough.

At our Colchester cabinet meeting, we announced a number of new projects that back our businesses and back our borough.

These spending plans will not only improve residents’ lives but bolster our local economy, too.

It is our duty, like the Chancellor in Westminster, to provide the support and stimulus our economy needs.

We do not have the power or bank balance of the Chancellor, nor will we borrow so much, but we are clear in our ambitions to invest in capital projects here in Colchester.

We announced over £4 million pounds of investment into our council housing stock, to better insulate and improve the energy efficiency of our homes, greening our properties and reducing bills for our residents.

This will support our local tradespeople, as will the investment of £75 million into providing 350 affordable council houses for residents in need.

The £10 million Mercury Theatre redevelopment will be completed in the new year and we are adding further investment into the public realm around the Mercury and Jumbo, which will make our town centre an even more interesting place to visit. Almost £30 million has been invested at the ambitious new sports park at Northern Gateway, alongside the groundbreaking heat-network that is being created to provide the nearby new homes, new businesses and the new health campus with green energy.

Investments across the town in Ultrafast Broadband, new high-tech CCTV, better public realm, green infrastructure and highlighting our unique heritage assets help to revive our local economy and make our borough an attractive place to visit and to invest.

The approach of ‘Building Back Better’ is good enough for the new president of America and it is exactly what we are planning to do here in Colchester too.

Our investments are clearly targeted at creating jobs, providing homes for those in need and taking the green steps our economy must take to protect our future.

Furthermore, the We are Colchester £25 million Town Deal Bid looks to the future of our younger generations and focuses on investments to provide them with skills, jobs and opportunities to enjoy our town.

Let’s look to the future with caution, but with optimism, too.