Let's shout about the positives of our town

Essex County Standard: Let's shout about the positives of our town Let's shout about the positives of our town

A CALL has gone out to reclaim Colchester’s reputation after a battering by a TV series focusing on its nightlife, and hospital revelations.

Eric von Broen, a director of Destination Colchester, says the town should shout more about its history and heritage in order to attract more tourists.

The Dutch Quarter resident believes the UK must see more to Colchester than the images of late-night disorder seen on Channel 4 series Bouncers this month.

He said, for example, unlike other towns and cities, visitors travelling along the A12 see no brown tourism signs advertising Colchester’s historic attractions.

Mr von Broen is now appealing for help to design a leaflet to be distributed around the town and further afield to improve Colchester’s image.

He said: “Colchester needs much more promotion.

“I’m really upset we always get bad press with the hospital and also the TV programme about our bouncers.

“Colchester is seen as a garrison town and for its nightlife, but nobody really knows what history we have to offer.

“I travel all around England and nobody knows about our sites.

“We need to reach people coming from London and elsewhere who would be prepared to spend some money in our restaurants.”

Mr von Broen said Colchester Council’s tourism team already did a good job on a limited budget, but he believed the private sector could do more to promote the town.

He wants designers, printers and anyone else to help create the leaflet highlighting Colchester’s historic attractions.

These include Colchester Castle when it reopens next spring, the Roman Circus, St Botolph’s Priory and Church, Tymperleys, St John’s Abbey Gatehouse, the Dutch Quarter and the Roman walls.

He added: “There is no public money, so we private people have to do it ourselves.”

To offer help, e-mail ericbvbroen@aol.com

Comments (12)

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7:05am Fri 29 Nov 13

mirokou says...

Cannot deny the history but you also cannot deny the nightlife , the mess, the aggression...Influx of new housing projects, lack of infrastructure , medical ,schools , run down town centre,,dirty shop fronts , scruffy streets , no one to account and petty local councillors playing childish party politics over progression for the greater good.
Cannot deny the history but you also cannot deny the nightlife , the mess, the aggression...Influx of new housing projects, lack of infrastructure , medical ,schools , run down town centre,,dirty shop fronts , scruffy streets , no one to account and petty local councillors playing childish party politics over progression for the greater good. mirokou

9:54am Fri 29 Nov 13

No! I am Spartacus says...

I used to love Colchester. The history and the easy going nature. The last 20 years, however, have shown just how much our 'administrators' can destroy a history.

Yes, we have the drunks- all towns do- but the fact the town is now essentially dedicated to alcohol and food, and guess whose fault that is?

We should be embracing the history like other towns (Warwick for example), ensuring buildings are in keeping with surroundings.... pie in the sky, it seems.
I used to love Colchester. The history and the easy going nature. The last 20 years, however, have shown just how much our 'administrators' can destroy a history. Yes, we have the drunks- all towns do- but the fact the town is now essentially dedicated to alcohol and food, and guess whose fault that is? We should be embracing the history like other towns (Warwick for example), ensuring buildings are in keeping with surroundings.... pie in the sky, it seems. No! I am Spartacus

10:28am Fri 29 Nov 13

timf66 says...

We do have a great town and we do need to shout about it, but not just the old, magnificent heritage sites; the Castle , the Wall, the Priory and one of the best town parks in the country, but also the new. We have a vibrant, colourful and creative Arts scene. Theatrically we have the Mercury Theatre which has built an impressive reputation nationwide over the last decade and continues to produce classy work and where I have been enormously proud to work, also The Arts Centre which draws top names from comedy and music, the Lakeside Theatre at the Uni where you can see highly respected visiting shows and exciting new work. Then, of course we have The Headgate Theatre, home to the town's prodigiously talented amateur companies. Their programme is constantly full of interesting and exciting work, far away from the fusty image of Linda Snell am dram.
We have talented and exciting film makers locally too, look at the success of The Colchester Film Festival. We have poets, artists and musicians, playwrights and actors in abundance yet most of these are unsung while drunken antics make better news copy.
If you read the letters pages of the local papers you would get the impression that nobody loves Firstsite. But I do, and I know many others who do. That's not to say it is perfect, I'd say it has struggled to find it's feet in the face of very unreasonable opposition. ( Almost as unappealing as the Bouncers and Party Bus image of the town has been the NIMBY, anti-modern, anti-culture reaction to it). Here we have a stunning building with evolving uses inside which needs to be embraced and used by the local community to find its full potential. It's there so we might as well make the most of it and realise we are lucky to have it. I really like the skateboarders using the surrounding pavements, like the skaters on the South Bank they bring extra vibrancy.
Mirokou talks about the "run down town centre" but I disagree. I have worked in and visited many UK towns in a much worse state, go to Tewkesbury with its beautiful Tudor buildings and its Abbey but with its tangible deprivation and decay. We have got a long way to go to be properly run down and we seem to be weathering the storm of downturn quite well. We need to support our town centre, do our Christmas shopping there instead of out of town, go to our local theatres, pubs and restaurants and talk ourselves up instead of succumbing to being that image that Channel 4 and the rest portray.
We do have a great town and we do need to shout about it, but not just the old, magnificent heritage sites; the Castle , the Wall, the Priory and one of the best town parks in the country, but also the new. We have a vibrant, colourful and creative Arts scene. Theatrically we have the Mercury Theatre which has built an impressive reputation nationwide over the last decade and continues to produce classy work and where I have been enormously proud to work, also The Arts Centre which draws top names from comedy and music, the Lakeside Theatre at the Uni where you can see highly respected visiting shows and exciting new work. Then, of course we have The Headgate Theatre, home to the town's prodigiously talented amateur companies. Their programme is constantly full of interesting and exciting work, far away from the fusty image of Linda Snell am dram. We have talented and exciting film makers locally too, look at the success of The Colchester Film Festival. We have poets, artists and musicians, playwrights and actors in abundance yet most of these are unsung while drunken antics make better news copy. If you read the letters pages of the local papers you would get the impression that nobody loves Firstsite. But I do, and I know many others who do. That's not to say it is perfect, I'd say it has struggled to find it's feet in the face of very unreasonable opposition. ( Almost as unappealing as the Bouncers and Party Bus image of the town has been the NIMBY, anti-modern, anti-culture reaction to it). Here we have a stunning building with evolving uses inside which needs to be embraced and used by the local community to find its full potential. It's there so we might as well make the most of it and realise we are lucky to have it. I really like the skateboarders using the surrounding pavements, like the skaters on the South Bank they bring extra vibrancy. Mirokou talks about the "run down town centre" but I disagree. I have worked in and visited many UK towns in a much worse state, go to Tewkesbury with its beautiful Tudor buildings and its Abbey but with its tangible deprivation and decay. We have got a long way to go to be properly run down and we seem to be weathering the storm of downturn quite well. We need to support our town centre, do our Christmas shopping there instead of out of town, go to our local theatres, pubs and restaurants and talk ourselves up instead of succumbing to being that image that Channel 4 and the rest portray. timf66

12:33pm Fri 29 Nov 13

zt00013 says...

The council needs to encourage independent business. To be a tourist destination we need a sense of uniqueness to prosper. Big chains while good for locals do nothing for tourism.

I have always thought that New Town would be great location for independent businesses to thrive. Think Cowley in Oxford, Stokecroft in Bristol or Brick Lane in London.
The council needs to encourage independent business. To be a tourist destination we need a sense of uniqueness to prosper. Big chains while good for locals do nothing for tourism. I have always thought that New Town would be great location for independent businesses to thrive. Think Cowley in Oxford, Stokecroft in Bristol or Brick Lane in London. zt00013

1:09pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Noah4x4 says...

Agree with everything TimF66 says. I came here merely 11 years ago and Colchester is THE best place that I have ever lived.

Colchester is far from perfect (where is?), but let's count our blessings. The unusual "bus station" might be a source of local humour; but the bus service itself is awesome; example; a number 65 every ten minutes and a regular half hourly service late into the evening. It is true that local traffic has some bottlenecks; but it generally flows much better than anywhere else that I have lived. Over a career of 30 + years; I commuted into London from large towns on railway lines that started from Birmingham; Bristol; Bedford; Dorking; Brighton and Dartford and that from Ipswich/Norwich is THE best service. It is admittedly just as costly as any other; but one can at least get a seat and punctuality is respectable. When it goes wrong; it can be horrible (just like any); but try commuting from south of the river Thames if you want to experience truly ghastly overcrowding and misery.

Our football club isn't Premier League; but at least we do have a football league club. Shopping is pretty decent; and what we don't have (e.g. a John Lewis branch) can be found 15 minutes away in Ipswich (and vice versa). I have recently had considerable treatment and aftercare at the town's hospital and from local GP's and that was much more efficient than that I experienced elsewhere.

Colchester is also not just a town of night clubs and drunken youths (but is that so different to others on a weekend night except we have had some TV coverage?). We have some fabulous real ale pubs; a lively theatre; a county cricket festival; some super events in Castle Park; like the fantastic fireworks; and the most abundant live music scene for a town of this modest size; plus more participant sports opportunities than anywhere I know (other than an ice rink). There is more even activity possible on our doorstep (e.g. London). House prices are also reasonable compared to towns that havie comparable journeys of just about 60 minute to the 'City'.

It is all a question of being realistic and one of relativity. Yes; we would all like to have much more at lower cost; but compared to any of the other places that I have lived; including in a ring of other commuter belt towns; Colchester offers THE best amenities £ for £ of cost . Then try visiting any northern; midland or industrial town and see austerity . Bits of Colchester Town Centre do need a facelift; and we have more than enough pawn shops; betting shops; nail bars and fast food outlets; but it is not a high street full of boarded up shops. We have to protect the town from that fate; but its not a town in crisis. My wife is originally from Preston; and now a daily commuter to Norwich wholly agrees that we wouldn't want to live anywhere else; despite have zero affinity when we first set foot here.
Agree with everything TimF66 says. I came here merely 11 years ago and Colchester is THE best place that I have ever lived. Colchester is far from perfect (where is?), but let's count our blessings. The unusual "bus station" might be a source of local humour; but the bus service itself is awesome; example; a number 65 every ten minutes and a regular half hourly service late into the evening. It is true that local traffic has some bottlenecks; but it generally flows much better than anywhere else that I have lived. Over a career of 30 + years; I commuted into London from large towns on railway lines that started from Birmingham; Bristol; Bedford; Dorking; Brighton and Dartford and that from Ipswich/Norwich is THE best service. It is admittedly just as costly as any other; but one can at least get a seat and punctuality is respectable. When it goes wrong; it can be horrible (just like any); but try commuting from south of the river Thames if you want to experience truly ghastly overcrowding and misery. Our football club isn't Premier League; but at least we do have a football league club. Shopping is pretty decent; and what we don't have (e.g. a John Lewis branch) can be found 15 minutes away in Ipswich (and vice versa). I have recently had considerable treatment and aftercare at the town's hospital and from local GP's and that was much more efficient than that I experienced elsewhere. Colchester is also not just a town of night clubs and drunken youths (but is that so different to others on a weekend night except we have had some TV coverage?). We have some fabulous real ale pubs; a lively theatre; a county cricket festival; some super events in Castle Park; like the fantastic fireworks; and the most abundant live music scene for a town of this modest size; plus more participant sports opportunities than anywhere I know (other than an ice rink). There is more even activity possible on our doorstep (e.g. London). House prices are also reasonable compared to towns that havie comparable journeys of just about 60 minute to the 'City'. It is all a question of being realistic and one of relativity. Yes; we would all like to have much more at lower cost; but compared to any of the other places that I have lived; including in a ring of other commuter belt towns; Colchester offers THE best amenities £ for £ of cost . Then try visiting any northern; midland or industrial town and see austerity . Bits of Colchester Town Centre do need a facelift; and we have more than enough pawn shops; betting shops; nail bars and fast food outlets; but it is not a high street full of boarded up shops. We have to protect the town from that fate; but its not a town in crisis. My wife is originally from Preston; and now a daily commuter to Norwich wholly agrees that we wouldn't want to live anywhere else; despite have zero affinity when we first set foot here. Noah4x4

4:44pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Jess Jephcott says...

All credit to Eric for raising this but Camulos has been producing leaflets for some time now and is working on new ones. We even have some in Italian and Dutch. We need people to translate others into different languages, if there are any volunteers out there. Whilst these leaflets have been rejected by Colchester Borough Council, I regularly place them at strategic, non-council run, places and see them gradually disappear as people take them. But Eric is right, the council is strapped for cash - but the council also resistant to 'outsiders' helping the town along. If you want some of these leaflets, just email me at Camulos or download one at http://www.camulos.c
om/virtual/guide.htm
#leaflets. I would welcome ideas for new ones. I am currently producing a 'Heritage Sights of Colchester' one and 'Post Roman Colchester' one. I have an inkling for one about Colchester's Military Heritage, but that is a way off yet.
All credit to Eric for raising this but Camulos has been producing leaflets for some time now and is working on new ones. We even have some in Italian and Dutch. We need people to translate others into different languages, if there are any volunteers out there. Whilst these leaflets have been rejected by Colchester Borough Council, I regularly place them at strategic, non-council run, places and see them gradually disappear as people take them. But Eric is right, the council is strapped for cash - but the council also resistant to 'outsiders' helping the town along. If you want some of these leaflets, just email me at Camulos or download one at http://www.camulos.c om/virtual/guide.htm #leaflets. I would welcome ideas for new ones. I am currently producing a 'Heritage Sights of Colchester' one and 'Post Roman Colchester' one. I have an inkling for one about Colchester's Military Heritage, but that is a way off yet. Jess Jephcott

5:22pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Bert_Stimpson says...

£28m+ wasted on the firsts*ite vanity project and the 'cultural quarter' mess. The delusional council have overseen the destruction of Colchester's historic credentials. It's been painful to watch and they show no signs of changing course soon. Emperor's new clothes - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Their incompetence goes unpunished...
£28m+ wasted on the firsts*ite vanity project and the 'cultural quarter' mess. The delusional council have overseen the destruction of Colchester's historic credentials. It's been painful to watch and they show no signs of changing course soon. Emperor's new clothes - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Their incompetence goes unpunished... Bert_Stimpson

6:25pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Simon Taylor says...

So good to read a couple of very thoughtful and positive comments on here. Please get in touch via Eric: Colchester needs people like you!

I don't think there's any problem with individuals like Jess distributing their own leaflets, providing that they promote a positive image. We both had Roman Colchester leaflets produced a couple of years ago, but duplication is much better than nothing at all!
So good to read a couple of very thoughtful and positive comments on here. Please get in touch via Eric: Colchester needs people like you! I don't think there's any problem with individuals like Jess distributing their own leaflets, providing that they promote a positive image. We both had Roman Colchester leaflets produced a couple of years ago, but duplication is much better than nothing at all! Simon Taylor

6:32pm Fri 29 Nov 13

HARRY438 says...

Dermot O'Leary.............
........
Dermot O'Leary............. ........ HARRY438

4:25pm Sat 30 Nov 13

stevedawson says...

Roman and Norman colchester are still the only historical architectural sites worth a visit.Over the years various retail fired projects have left the town denuded of parts that might have provided more quaint areas other than just the dutch quarter.Pity the jolly band hell bent on keeping the old red brick victorian montrosity at top of the high street, didn't fight as hard to save them.
Roman and Norman colchester are still the only historical architectural sites worth a visit.Over the years various retail fired projects have left the town denuded of parts that might have provided more quaint areas other than just the dutch quarter.Pity the jolly band hell bent on keeping the old red brick victorian montrosity at top of the high street, didn't fight as hard to save them. stevedawson

10:36pm Sun 1 Dec 13

Jess Jephcott says...

The point that I was making is that I am getting on with it without any fuss and without any glory seeking. We live in a wonderful town and I want to shout about it. I know that there are people in this town who would love to bring us all down to their miserable defeatist level. I tend to ignore them. Where is the point in attacking Firstsite? We have it now. Those with any sort of intelligence should accept that and get behind the people who are striving to make a difference.
The point that I was making is that I am getting on with it without any fuss and without any glory seeking. We live in a wonderful town and I want to shout about it. I know that there are people in this town who would love to bring us all down to their miserable defeatist level. I tend to ignore them. Where is the point in attacking Firstsite? We have it now. Those with any sort of intelligence should accept that and get behind the people who are striving to make a difference. Jess Jephcott

11:29pm Sun 1 Dec 13

No! I am Spartacus says...

Jess Jephcott wrote:
The point that I was making is that I am getting on with it without any fuss and without any glory seeking. We live in a wonderful town and I want to shout about it. I know that there are people in this town who would love to bring us all down to their miserable defeatist level. I tend to ignore them. Where is the point in attacking Firstsite? We have it now. Those with any sort of intelligence should accept that and get behind the people who are striving to make a difference.
You tend to ignore them, but not before you insult their intelligence because some have a different opinion. I guess we could all just roll over and have our tummies ticked by others, but that (in my opinion) would be the 'defeatist level' you refer to.

Just because people make a difference... doesn't mean it is positive.
[quote][p][bold]Jess Jephcott[/bold] wrote: The point that I was making is that I am getting on with it without any fuss and without any glory seeking. We live in a wonderful town and I want to shout about it. I know that there are people in this town who would love to bring us all down to their miserable defeatist level. I tend to ignore them. Where is the point in attacking Firstsite? We have it now. Those with any sort of intelligence should accept that and get behind the people who are striving to make a difference.[/p][/quote]You tend to ignore them, but not before you insult their intelligence because some have a different opinion. I guess we could all just roll over and have our tummies ticked by others, but that (in my opinion) would be the 'defeatist level' you refer to. Just because people make a difference... doesn't mean it is positive. No! I am Spartacus

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