COLCHESTER has secured £18.2 million Government funding to help revive the borough post-Covid.

The cash comes from the Government's Town Deal Fund and the amount was confirmed in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget yesterday.

The We Are Colchester partnership, which includes Colchester Council, Essex County Council, business leaders and community organisations, secured the £18.2 million out of its full bid for £25 million.

A separate £1 million as part of an advanced scheme has already been secured as well.

Here is what we know about where the fund will be spent.

What is the Town Deal Fund?

At the start of 2020, Colchester was chosen as one of 101 towns across the country that could apply for up to £25 million from the Government.

Over 1000 individuals, groups and businesses submitted their views on how Colchester can be improved following a successful bid.

These ideas were developed into several related projects under the broad themes of ‘How We Live, Grow, and Connect’.

The bid was submitted by We Are Colchester, which formed in January 2020.

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What will the £18.2 million be spent on?

The projects will draw on lessons learned from Covid-19 and aim to boost the town's recovery.

It is hoped the Town Deal will bring in tens of millions more in investment from other sources.

Specific projects are set to include:

• The creation of digital work hubs

• Transforming facilities for young people

• A digital skills hub at the Wilson Marriage Centre (Barrack Street)

• Public realm improvements in the town centre

• Restoration of 1000 year old Holy Trinity Church

• The first phase in restoring our iconic Victorian water tower ‘Jumbo’

• Transformation of community facilities in Greenstead

• The accelerated introduction of 5G

• Improved walking and cycling links across the town.

What have the council said?

Message - Mark Cory, leader of Colchester Council, has urged people to stay at home and protect the NHS

Message - Mark Cory, leader of Colchester Council, has urged people to stay at home and protect the NHS

Mark Cory, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I am delighted the We are Colchester partnership has managed to secure this significant investment into the Borough.

“This funding focusses on things that really matter to residents and businesses.

"This includes town centre improvements, more investment for the heart of Greenstead, facilities for younger people, improved digital provision including 5G and physical infrastructure for walking and cycling.

"This is a fantastic boost for the borough and is testament to the hard work of many partners.”

David King

David King

Business Boss David King said: “This is just the beginning of a new, exciting chapter for the town.

"We are keen to continue working with residents and local organisations to ensure their input positively shapes the development of our final plans.

“The timing could not be better.

"We soon will emerge from the health and economic crisis and these and other town centre projects will help Colchester adjust and recover.

"At a time of worry for businesses and those they employ, our town deal success will sustain or create new jobs and give us all confidence in the future.”

Essex county councillor Tony Ball

Essex county councillor Tony Ball

Tony Ball, Essex County Council cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “This is great news. 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 Council and central Government to take forward the Town Deal forward and the many opportunities it offers.”

What about others?

Simon Blaxill

Simon Blaxill

Simon Blaxill, who is We are Colchester Board chair and owns Kent Blaxill, added: “It’s fantastic news that Colchester has managed to attract this important funding. It will make a huge difference to local people - generating jobs, offering further opportunities to upskill and delivering improved community facilities.

“I’m looking forward to working with local businesses and residents to progress these exciting projects. These projects promise to make positive difference right across the borough.”

Will Quince. Picture: Nikki Powell

Will Quince. Picture: Nikki Powell

Will Quince, Colchester's MP, said: "The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced £18.2m for Colchester as part of the #TownsFund which is in addition to the £1m already received.

"This represents the most significant Government investment to re-generate Colchester town centre in decades.

"I promised to work cross-party to help secure as much Government investment into Colchester as possible.

"Today that promise was delivered with £18.2m secured to re-generate Colchester in addition to the £1m already received.

"This is game-changing and wonderful news for our town."

What happens next?

The next steps will be to agree heads of terms with government on the funding, then continue detailed scoping work on the projects.

This will include extensive public engagement, giving residents the opportunity to influence and shape how the projects develop.

Find out more here.