FIRMS have been forgotten while plans to revamp a road in Colchester with new cycle and walking routes have been developed, a business owner has claimed.

Phil Gunton, who runs iconic grocers H Gunton, has criticised Essex Highways over its plans to transform Crouch Street, where his shop is.

County Hall is set to create two new cycle routes linking up the town as part of its Safer, Greener, Healthier scheme.

One of the routes continues from Lexden Road along Crouch Street to Balkerne Hill, where a new crossing will be built and the subway underneath the crossing filled in.

An official consultation was launched last month into the plans.

Mr Gunton said he was supportive of the scheme’s aims, but said some business and residents felt ignored.

He said: “Whilst there are many aspects of this plan that will benefit Colchester, I am seriously disappointed in the way this project has been delivered and publicised thus far.

“We only found out about the plans before this current consultation because we heard a rumour and asked the BID team if they knew about it and if so, to comment.

“It seems that not all the parties affected by these works were part of the original consultation.

“Essex County and Colchester Council, the local cyclist groups, pedestrian representatives, Colchester BID and schools were part of the consultation, but none of the businesses, residents or anyone else directly affected on the ground had any input at that stage.”

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Mr Gunton said his main concern over the changes was when the works were set to take place, with rumours of an October start.

He said: “Colchester has had the works at Ipswich Road roundabout for two years-plus, the works at the west end of Crouch Street to create the new seating area and Covid over the last few Christmas periods.

“The businesses in town need an uninterrupted Christmas to help us recover.

“Another year of any sort of infrastructure issues will be the start of the end for retail in Colchester town centre with it all moving out of town.

“Surely starting this in the early new year is not that different to starting in October. It is one of the quietest times for many businesses.”

An Essex Highways spokesperson said the purpose of the current consultation was so residents and businesses could shape the final scheme.

“A Colchester Steering Group for the consultation was set up last year and included members from the business community including representatives from the Colchester BID and Culver Square Shopping Centre,” he said.

“These views were fed into the consultation. We would encourage anyone with views on the proposals to respond directly to the consultation.

“We will also be gathering additional data from other sources such as polling, focus groups, direct engagement and traffic counts. All of these findings will be used to agree next steps.”

To view the consultation, visit