WORKS on Colchester’s newest regeneration project in the heart of the city centre are underway.

St Nicholas Square is set to be transformed as part of a £1.6million overhaul.

It promises to provide a vibrant space for outdoor events and leisure.

The scheme is the second big scheme kicking off this year as part of Colchester’s wider regeneration project.

It follows the launch of the £6.25million Digital Creative Hub last month, with future projects coming in 2024 including a £600,000 scheme in St Trinity Square and £1.3million for three youth service schemes.

The funding for these projects includes £19.6million in Government Levelling Up grants and £2.5million from Section 106 legal agreements with developers, as well as £19.2million from the Government's Town Deal.

Gazette: New - what the square could look like post-revampNew - what the square could look like post-revamp (Image: Colchester Council/HAT Projects)

The funding will contribute to regenerating Balkerne Gate, improving cycling infrastructure and bringing heritage assets back into public use.

Scheduled for completion by autumn 2024, the new St Nicholas Square will foster a “greater sense of community in Colchester”.

It is hoped it will attract visitors, create a welcoming environment and provide new opportunities for businesses.

The square will be constructed using high-quality materials such as York Stone and granite setts.

It will also feature improved lighting and newly planted trees.

City centre councillor Mark Goacher said the plans are a “hugely welcome development” for the area, saying it was “grotty, grim and full of bins and a crumbling wall”.

Gazette: Site - St Nicholas Square in ColchesterSite - St Nicholas Square in Colchester (Image: Steve Brading)

Council leader David King said: “St Nicholas Square, alongside the Digital Creative Hub, is the result of years of planning, and it's fantastic to witness the start of work, the beginning of significant regeneration in our city centre.

“I am confident the newly improved public square will be beloved by locals and visitors alike, providing opportunities for businesses and events.”

Sam Good, chief executive of Colchester BID, added: “We are excited about the prospect of a vibrant public realm, knowing it will lead to significant economic benefits for our businesses and the wider area.

“The versatile space offers a range of possibilities, and we are actively exploring options and devising an event calendar to showcase its potential usage.”