A NEW £6.25million digital workspace in Colchester being created in a derelict former bus station is set to open next spring. 

The former bus depot at 43 Queen Street has remained vacant since 2015 after First Bus vacated the site, with the building demolished last year.

The new Digital Forum will serve as a collaborative space for digital artists, entrepreneurs, and tech creatives in the area and is expected to be completed early next year.

It promises to be a location for 5G connectivity and attracting pioneering technology companies, including those currently based in Cambridge.

The project, which was formerly known as the Digital Working Hub, hopes to make Colchester a hotspot for the tech industry.

Colbea, which has four decades of experience in supporting businesses, will be working closely with Colchester Council to tailor the Digital Forum to the needs of the tech companies.

Simon Mead, chief executive of Colbea, said: "We have a vision to bolster Colchester’s digital industry, contributing to the city’s goal of becoming a digital powerhouse in the East of England.

"The Digital Forum, through its connectivity and 5G access, will allow us to target technology companies that have previously not considered Colchester as a viable base for their innovation businesses.

"The building will undoubtedly help shape the future of Colchester’s digital sector and to support incredible local talent."

The council says the investment in the Digital Forum is a sign of the city’s growing reputation as a desirable location for digital businesses.

David King, leader of Colchester City Council, welcomed the partnership with Colbea, adding: "Colbea have a track record of success in fostering business growth in the community.

"Our growing reputation as a location for digital businesses is contributing to our economy and I look forward to new and innovative businesses settling in the Forum."

Colchester's dedication to digital advancements and education was also showcased with the successful launch of the ACL Digital Learning Hub in October.

Simon Blaxill, chair of We Are Colchester, added: "Our city's digital and creative industries are flourishing, providing employment opportunities and driving economic progress.

"Together with Colbea, we aim to create an environment that appeals to tech innovators seeking new investment opportunities."

For more information on the Digital Forum, visit colchester.gov.uk/citycentre.