RESIDENTS in Colchester are calling for better shops and more green spaces, a survey has revealed.

More than 2,000 people in Colchester have had their say on the city’s future as part of the Future of Colchester survey, carried out by Colchester City Council and Essex County Council.

It asked a series of questions about visiting the city centre, feeling safe, air pollution, sustainable transport, as well as ideas around what would make people visit more.

The survey revealed only 42 per cent of the 2,000 people polled visited the city centre at least once a week, with only 40 per cent of people saying they feel safe in the area.

Although a full report is yet to be published, the council has said many of the responses have shown a desire for a greater range of retailers, as well as alternative uses for empty shops and buildings.

Gazette: Mark Cory, the council’s deputy leaderMark Cory, the council’s deputy leader (Image: Newsquest)

The Government, too, is keen on regenerating town and city centres across England, with plans for compulsory rental auction – which would see retail units that have been left vacant for six months forcibly rented by local authorities – drafted last year.

A Government consultation was then held on the same plans earlier this summer.

But Mark Cory, the council’s deputy leader, said the authority’s powers are limited when it comes to improving the city centre space.

He said: “We have few levers to pull at a local level, but we are doing everything we can to make our city centre a place for new businesses, entertainment and enjoyment, as well as being clean and safe.


“We need to work with partners like Essex County Council, the police, and the Business Improvement District in order to answer the concerns and wishes raised in the survey.

“The key point here is that we have asked the question, and we are listening to the answers.”

The city centre masterplan will be considered by Colchester Council’s local plan committee in December 2023 once the full consultation plan is finalised.

“I hope residents can work with us, visiting the town centre more and supporting the local shops and entertainment venues we cherish,” Mr Cory added.