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Blueprint needed for town centre
RESIDENTS’ views are being sought on the future of Colchester town centre.
Colchester Council has published its draft Better Town Centre plan and is giving people a chance to have their say.
Between June 22 and July 27 the council will be collecting opinions on issues such as which traders should be in the town, how new buildings should fit in with the historic centre and how transport links should be developed.
As part of the exercise, officers will take over an empty shop in Lion Walk on June 28, so residents can drop in and have their say, while a similar session will be held in Firstsite on June 30.
Comments can also be left through the council’s website once the consultation begins.
Councillors on Colchester’s local plan committee welcomed the consultation and a much-needed focus on the town centre.
They will re-examine the plan in October once all views have been taken into account.
Councillor Elizabeth Blundell said: “This is a very positive document, but there are a lot of competing issues and demands.
“There will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and we are also competing against other towns doing the same thing.”
John Jowers, councillor, said: “I support this because if we don’t we will be subject to national policies and Colchester is better than that.
“The town is not what it was, but everything looks rosy looking backwards.
“We need big shops, but alongside independent unique shops. These are the indicators of a healthy town.”
The plan was drawn up after retail guru Mary Portas published a report into how high streets can thrive.
But Mr Jowers said: “I don’t think the Mary Portas link helps people identify with their home town.”