Colchester Council has recruited more than 200 residents to partake in its panel to ensure locals shape decision-making in the city.

The Residents' Panel aims to involve participants more in shaping projects.

Held at the end of January, two panel discussions shared updates on the £40m government-funded regeneration projects in the city centre.

Panel members were permitted to ask questions, offer insight, and share their views about the potential developments.

Sam Good, chief executive of Colchester’s Business Improvement District (BID), was present at one of the panels, leading a discussion on the BID's ongoing work, including launching a new city centre app later this year.

He said: "I am passionate about continued and consistent engagement between ourselves, businesses and our residents.

"We are all emotive about the city centre, some positive, some negative and a bit in between however it is essential to maintain discussion."

Feedback from these meetings aims to guide future regeneration, focusing on better communication regarding sustainable and net zero elements, disability group consultation, and improving seating in Trinity Square.

Previous panels have influenced a variety of areas including the launch of the chargeable garden waste service and community composting proposals.

In conjunction with the North Essex Heritage Trust, a recent panel meeting provided attendees with the opportunity to tour Jumbo Water Tower, with 16 available slots via a prize draw.

David King, leader of the council, said: "I’m delighted at the response we’ve had to our new residents’ panel.

"(The panel) will be especially crucial as we navigate through our Fit for the Future programme of work to reduce our organisation by 25 per cent over the next three years to ensure we live within our means, at least impact on our services and residents.

"My thanks to all who have come forward and for their time, interest and passion for the city."

The panel is open to all residents in Colchester, aged 18 and over.

Those interested can attend the next in-person meeting on April 22, 10am at Colchester Castle, or join a virtual meeting on April 29, 7pm via Teams.

To join the panel, residents can visit or contact the council via email at