by Stephen Clark
Managing Director, Churchmanor Estates Company
People have been building the fabric of Britain’s oldest recorded town for over 2000 years and over the last 30 years, commercial developers like myself have built upon this legacy as the main providers of new commercial accommodation in the town.
We, as Ambassadors from the Business Community, believe that Colchester has a fantastic future. Let us look at the facts from the research organisation Centre for Cities who surveyed 65 towns and cities across the UK. This analysis showed:
- Colchester was the 5th fastest growing place in Britain over the last 10 years.
- Colchester also, over the last 10 years is ranked 3rd in the UK for the construction of new homes.
The town centre is in the top 50 of retail locations in the UK and offers a wide range of cultural, shopping and leisure destinations including the new £30million Fenwick store which opened in 2017.
In addition Colchester will also boast a multi-million pound retail and leisure complex to the west of the town at Tollgate.
This is a description of a successful Colchester now – but what of the future? Colchester has a growth agenda to build on its achievements with a range of new investment projects over the next 30 years – it is not standing still.
- Essex County Council will shortly present their preferred route of the new A120 from Colchester to Stansted which will reduce journey times between the two centres to 30 minutes.
- An investment in this new road will allow one of the three proposed north Essex Garden Communities to come forward at Marks Tey to provide 20,000 new homes and job opportunities.
- On the eastern side of Colchester a second new garden community is planned for a 1000acre site adjacent the University of Essex for 9000 new homes
- To cope with all this additional growth proposals are being brought forward to widen the A12 around Colchester to three lanes which is subject to a consultation in 2019.
- And, the rail service to London with a £1.4billion planned investment by 2025 which will double the capacity at peak times.
I believe the case for both public and private investment in the future of Colchester is a compelling one and the case is even more compelling given the support for the business cluster receives from the first class educational facilities that the town is blessed with.