COLCHESTER has secured millions of pounds in funding for a major regeneration project which aims to transform “cultural and shopping experiences” in the city.

Downing Street has awarded Colchester a staggering £19.66 million from its Levelling Up Fund after Colchester Council, in partnership with Essex County Council, tabled an impressive bid.

The “landmark” Government scheme was established with a view of breathing “new life" into more than 100 communities across the country.

The money given to Colchester will be spent on several high-profile projects which focus on improving the feel of the city centre and creating a more attractive environment for visitors.


The funding will also be used to for schemes designed to help tackle anti-social behaviour and combat poor air quality and traffic congestion.

The main chunk of the cash - as much as 84 per cent - will be pumped into rejuvenating the areas in and around St Botolph’s – a sector of the city MP Will Quince says “has been left behind”.

Plans show the underpass of St Botolph’s roundabout is in line for a make-over and as well as the roundabout itself, which will “create better movement.”

Colchester Council bosses hope the transformation of the roundabout, which has been at the centre of unfulfilled redevelopment plans for years, will improve walking and cycling routes.

Elsewhere in the ambitious project, the remaining 16 per cent of funding is said to likely be used on upgrading and refining the more cultural aspects of the city.

The Roman City Wall, for example, will neighbour a new public square which will create a traffic-free route from St Botolph’s Priory to Colchester Castle and Castle Park and celerate heritage.

The proposals also show retail frontages will be enhanced and abandoned buildings will be turned into residential properties.

There will even be a convenient new hub for storing and hiring bikes, e-bikes, e-cargo bikes and e-scooters, and step-free pedestrian access to the city centre’s railway station.

The money may also enable the existing Town Deal ‘kerbless street’ route from Head Street to Queen Street to be completed.


David King, leader of Colchester Council, said: “This award is great news for Colchester.

"It will help the look, feel and regeneration of the city centre and allow us to continue with ambitious plans to improve inequality and deprivation in the city.

"And to help us be a great place to live, work and visit.

"Together with the £19.2m Town Deal funding projects that are now underway, Colchester can expect a long-term boost to the city’s economy – improving life for everyone in our city.”


Mr Quince added: “I am delighted the government has recognised the importance of the regeneration opportunities within the centre of Colchester.

“The cultural and shopping experiences around St Botolph's have been in desperate need of improvement.

“For years people have found the underpass and surrounding area of St Botolph's roundabout to be uninviting.

“For a variety of reasons this part of Colchester has been left behind other areas.

“This grant will leverage huge opportunities to address this.

"There are some exiting initiatives planned around our heritage sites and transport infrastructure, which I am looking forward to seeing the results of.”

Lesley Wagland OBE, Essex County Council cabinet member for economic renewal, infrastructure and planning, said the funding will boost the Colchester city centre economy.

She said: "It will help make more of its unique heritage assets and enhancing the city centre for residents and visitors alike.

“Essex County Council is committed to our own Levelling Up Strategy, in which Colchester is one of our six priority areas.

"We look forward to working with Colchester Council to bring these plans to fruition.”