HUGE plans to develop two car parks in Colchester as part of a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to regenerate the city centre are a "long way off", it has been revealed.

Colchester Council wants to revitalise the Britannia and the Vineyard Street car parks with homes built.

After securing nearly £40 million in regeneration funding, the council says Colchester has a "unique opportunity to breathe new life into the city" and to look again at the future of both car parks.

The proposed development plans for the Britannia car park site include up to 120 new homes, public realm improvements, a heritage path linking the city centre to Colchester Town railway station, and housing.

However, council leader David King has assured residents both projects aren't happening anytime soon.

It has also been revealed the Vineyard Street plans for 70 new homes hasn't "proven commercially viable" and the council hopes to develop new proposals for the site.

It is unlikely any work at Vineyard Street car park will start in the next five years.

Gazette: Reassuring - Colchester Council leader David King, who has told residents the car park plans are a 'long way off'Reassuring - Colchester Council leader David King, who has told residents the car park plans are a 'long way off' (Image: Newsquest)

Mr King said: “It is understandable those who enjoy using Britannia and Vineyard Street car parks are speculating what this means for them.

“Britannia car park will not be developed for some time.

“We will share the regeneration plans when available, and we will welcome support and constructive challenges – just as we will with Vineyard Street plans, though they are a long way off now.”

The £40 million funding, which includes Levelling Up, Section 106 and the Town Deal funds, will contribute towards various projects.

These include regenerating St Nicholas Square, Balkerne Gate, improve cycling infrastructure, creating a new digital hub on the site of the former bus garage, bringing heritage assets back into public use, and more.Gazette: Future - a CGI of the Vineyard Street plansFuture - a CGI of the Vineyard Street plans (Image: N/A)

The council previously confirmed some car parking space will be retained at Vineyard Street.

"The proposals for these developments have been guided by data provided by an independent parking specialist," said Mr King.

"We have modelled the impact of the regeneration plans on visitors traveling by car to Colchester for shopping, business, and leisure.

"There will be only minor losses in parking income as most Britannia and Vineyard Street parkers will use other nearby car parks.

"There's more than enough parking space in nearby car parks to meet the expected demand of visitors."