Ian Vipond

Strategic Director of Policy and Place, Colchester Borough Council

"Colchester's heritage, countryside and coast make this a beautiful place to be"

How would you best describe your organisation and its values?

As part of the local Council, the Corporate and Policy team looks at the future of Colchester, striving to facilitate the best options for local residents, business and future investors. What sort of place do we want to live and work in tomorrow.

How is the local economic strategy created? 

The Team put together the Local Plan and the Economic Strategy for the Borough of Colchester with the latest Local Plan, planning through to 2033, which considers how significant economic and housing growth can be accommodated. 

How big is the Borough now? 

The Borough has a population of about 180,000 with the main Historic Town of Colchester being the main regional Centre of about 125,000.

How do you see your Borough evolving over the next 5 years?

 We currently expect the Borough to grow at the rate of just short of a 1,000 new homes per year with an equal number of jobs being created,  perhaps leading to a population of 220,000 by 2033.

What are the advantages of being a Colchester-based organisation? 

Clearly one of the key advantages is the growing local market on your doorstep, but in addition the international links, through London Stansted airport and Felixstowe/Harwich port and ready access by train to London (45mins) make this a great place to do business. 

What are the biggest challenges for business in Colchester?

The Colchester digital strategy has already provided Gigabit connectivity in the Town Centre and this is planned to roll out to  the business locations in Colchester. One of the challenges is how to make use of this ultrafast connectivity while it remains a competitive business advantage. 

As the town expands, what opportunities does this create for business and for the town generally?

Colchester’s aspirations place it among the best locations for tech investors, creative businesses and those companies looking for affordable grow-on space in a ‘tech city’ business environment. Located here is a strong international University excelling in AI, computer sciences and gaming and majoring on data analytics and business leadership. it has support programmes for innovators and startups.   

What do you see as the most important focus for Colchester’s future and why?

Colchester’s heritage and lovely ‘Constable’ countryside and coast make this location a beautiful place to be; the key is to ensure that the benefits of this location are cherished and that the opportunities are enhanced.