BIG business is dying out in Colchester, according to an industry expert.

Bob Baggalley, chief executive of Colchester and Essex Business Agency, believes the news printer Polestar could close has signalled a move away from big companies trading from Colchester.

Instead, he said, the future of the town was in small, independent businesses being set up by residents.

Mr Baggalley said: “The recession has dramatically influenced the importance of small businesses.

“The number of people setting up their own business has reached an all-time high. If you look around Colchester there are not that many large businesses employing a large number of people.

“Now, thanks to last weekend’s events, it’s even less.

“If people want to live and work in Colchester then creating their own small business is perhaps the only available option. It’s either that or commuting, and we know that’s getting to be a very expensive proposition.”

Polestar, which employs 150 people at its Severalls Industrial Park site, has begun a 90-day consultation with staff. A company spokesman said: “Effectively, we are looking at the proposed closure of the Colchester site.’’ A long line of businesses have left the town over the years. In 2005, Colchester finally said goodbye to major engineering company Paxman, demolished after it was closed by new German owners a number of years earlier.

Colchester Lathe Company closed its town business in 1992, moving operations to West Yorkshire.

Mr Baggalley denied the future looked bad for business in Colchester.

He said there was huge demand for office space at the agency’s business centres in The Crescent and George Williams Way.

Mr Baggalley said: “Small businesses are coming and going. But we were full two months after we opened and we are full now.

“Colchester has every chance of riding out this recession. We are in a far better position than other towns. We have the ability to bounce back.”