THE decision to close a car park earmarked for redevelopment has been described as “utter madness” after it was revealed it raked in nearly £750,000 last year.

Colchester resident Steve Miller submitted a Freedom of Information request to Colchester Council after becoming concerned over the proposed closure of Brittania Car park.

The results show the car park has been becoming more popular since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

From January to December in that year, there were 160,147 stays, earning the council £338,079.05.

In the same time period last year, however, the car park saw 267,530 stays, generating a total of £744,640.65 - an increase of 120 per cent.

Gazette: Busy - Brittania Car park raked in nearly £750,000 last yearBusy - Brittania Car park raked in nearly £750,000 last year (Image: Colchester Council)

Mr Miller said: “It would be utter madness for the council to sell Britannia Car Park for housing.

“With the growth of Colchester, all the car parks need saving.

“The figures prove the use of Britannia, and contrary to popular belief has been increasing annually.

“It is staggering proof the city centre is getting busier by the year, and the success of same is irrefutable.”

The future of the car park is being considered as part of regeneration plans which could result in 120 new homes, public realm improvements, a heritage path linking the city centre to Colchester Town railway station, and more.

It was previously revealed to the Gazette Britannia will first partially close to motorists during 2025/26, followed by a full closure on a date yet to be confirmed.

Colchester Council also said the Brittania project was seeing “active progress”, with “significant progress” anticipated in the coming years and hopes a planning application for the public realm aspect of the scheme could come “by the end of this year”.

Gazette: Reassurance - council leader David King said the car park plans are a long way offReassurance - council leader David King said the car park plans are a long way off (Image: Newsquest)

Despite this, council leader David King assured residents the Brittania project, alongside a similar one for Vineyard Street, is a “long way off”, with any work at Vineyard Street car park starting in the next five years deemed unlikely.

“Britannia car park will not be developed for some time,” he added.


Bosses at Colchester Council have now responded to Mr Miller's concerns. 

A spokesman said: “Developing Britannia car park before the end of the decade to support regeneration has been a topic of discussion with the public since 2006.

"However, in the short-term, our primary focus is strategically locating parking spaces within the city centre to ensure that there are no fewer parking spaces than needed and to attract more footfall.

“We currently have a surplus of unused parking spaces in Colchester for most of the year.

"To address this, we are collaborating with the North Essex Parking Partnership, updating our Parking Strategy, and working closely with consultants to explore ways to improve our existing parking options.

“Widening parking spaces is one of the potential measures we are considering to make parking more convenient for those who choose to travel to the city centre by car.

"The average vehicle is larger now than when the carparks were built. Once this work is completed, drivers may find it easier to park in underused city centre spaces.

"The updated Parking Strategy, which aims to address any potential loss in capacity by replicating the successful measures and techniques used at Britannia car park, will be in use before the long-term proposals move ahead.

“Additionally, we are working with Essex Highways to deliver a high-quality and convenient public transportation system, offering greater reliability and more frequent services.

"This will provide commuters with alternative options for traveling to the city centre should they wish, including the introduction of the Rapid Transit System, which promises faster-than-car bus services directly to the heart of Colchester.”