WORK to reinstate automated barriers at a city centre car park which has become a hotbed for antisocial behaviour is set to start.

Colchester Council has confirmed work to install automated barriers at St Mary’s car park in Colchester city centre is due to start next month.

The work is set to begin during the week commencing June 17, but the Gazette understands the council is trying to bring the date forward.

Gazette: Central - St Mary's car parkCentral - St Mary's car park (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesman for the council confirmed: “There will be some disruption to drivers using the car park during the works. However, we are committed to minimising this as much as possible.

“The current plan is to close the car park entrance and exit for one morning only to allow for essential works to be completed. The remainder of the works should be achievable while the car park remains open.

“We anticipate the closure to begin at 9am, allowing those who park for work to access the car park beforehand.

“We will provide further details and signage at the car park closer to the date. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Gazette: Clampdown - signs outside the car park warn drivers of behaving in an antisocial wayClampdown - signs outside the car park warn drivers of behaving in an antisocial way (Image: Newsquest)

Colchester Council confirmed in October last year it was exploring plans to re-introduce automatic barriers at the car park in Balkerne Hill.

The car park, which is popular with theatregoers because of its closeness to the Mercury Theatre, has troubled nearby residents for months after a reported surge in antisocial behaviour.

Complaints of so-called “speed racers” causing a nuisance led to council bosses deciding to close its entrance on Friday and Saturday evenings.

But, according to residents, the move didn’t make the problem go away, with drivers reportedly being spotted driving in through the car park’s exit to flout the rules.

Calls followed from concerned neighbours and councillors for the car park to be completely closed overnight, which the city council has since ruled out.

The authority said in March a complete overnight closure “could potentially lead to new challenges”.