EXPLORING the option of implementing a 15-minute city plan in Colchester "should not be taken off the table", a councillor has said.

This week it was announced 100 councils across the country had signed up to become “15-minute cities”, where residents have every facility within a 15-minute walk, cycle or public transport ride.

The scheme, aimed at cutting unnecessary car journeys, will see each neighbourhood have education facilities, primary health care centres, as well as shopping and leisure activities.

Oxford is one of the councils signed up to the pilot scheme in which residents have to apply for a permit to drive through a different neighbourhood, with fines for exceeding a yearly quota.

In Essex, Southend Council has pencilled the idea into its local plan, with each town such as Leigh or Westcliff becoming one of eight 15-minute neighbourhoods.

Last week, Colchester's environment and sustainability panel discussed plans to make the city more cycle and pedestrian-friendly.

Protestors voiced fears of 15-minute city plans being introduced.

Green councillor and panel member Mark Goacher believes all things should be considered in the face of imminent climate change.

He said: “As far as I know there are no plans to make the whole of Colchester a 15-minute city.

“I wouldn’t say it's something that could be ruled out, when dealing with climate change, everything should be discussed.

“There had been some mention of 15-minute cities in the meeting, but it was not discussed as an overall proposition, there was some very brief discussion of it.

READ MORE: Colchester Green councillor responds to climate change protestors

“There are no plans that I am aware of in place currently, but nothing should be off of the table.

“We should be able to discuss these things, but that doesn’t mean there’s plans in motion.

“The idea of 15 min cities is something that would have pluses and minuses, it is something that should be discussed.

“I haven’t made my own mind up yet, I'm looking at the pros and cons to see whether it would be worth it.”

A Colchester Council spokesman said the authority had no plans to sign up to such a scheme. 

He pointed out evolving plans for a 7,500 to 9,000 home 'garden community' on the Colchester/Tendring border are based on the concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods.