MORE than one in six Colchester shops are empty, a new survey has revealed.

The Local Data Company has revealed that at the end of 2010, 15.8 per cent of the retail premises in Colchester were empty, up 4.6 per cent on the previous year.

The Essex Federation of Small Businesses described the figure, the fifth highest in the east, as “worrying”.

The figures differ sharply from those collected by the Colchester Retail & Business Association last autumn, when they found just 8.5 per cent of 745 shops in the town centre were unoccupied.