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Bringing new buildings and street scenes

Places cannot stand still. They must grow, adapt, modify and modernise or fall into decline and decay. This process brings character, richness and distinctiveness and will make Colchester even more special.

Firstsite at night

Improvement needed

Some areas of Colchester's town centre are run down. At the same time the population is growing fast. People need a quality town centre with more facilities and more choice. But more than that, people deserve high quality design, a positive feeling in these spaces and places as well as and buildings which compliment the existing collection of buildings which have become a key part of Colchester's heritage and character over the centuries.  The Better Town Centre supplementary planning guidance gives developers and other interested organisations direction about how the Council is seeking to develop the town centre.

Read on to find out more about what's happening ...

Greyfriars Hotel The new firstsite building has been the catalyst for regeneration in the St Botolph's area, with three new hotels, a creative business centre and numerous retail opportunities already planned in the surrounding area.  Work continues to convert the former Greyfriars Adult Education Centre into a boutique hotel with associated bar, restaurant and car parking. Given the architectural and historic significance of the site, special attention has been given to design and heritage considerations.

 Vineyard Gate Development This development will transform the area around Vineyard Street into a £70m retail and leisure space and will create approximately 155,000 sq ft of retail; comprising an anchor store, retail units, restaurants, cafes and a car park.

 St Botolph's Quarter This exciting new area is starting to take shape and will be a great place to live and do business as a new hotel, new homes and a Creative Business Centre are built there, right in the town centre. Colchester Borough Council secured £500,000 of funding from the Haven Gateway Partnership to purchase one of the town's strategic buildings the Old Police Station, Queen Street in December 2010. The building will be transformed into a creative business centre, with incubation space, start-up space and grow-on space as well as meeting room space. This will provide a hub for creative activity taking place in the area. European funding has also been secured to contribute to the fit out of the building.

Fire Office High St A full refurbishment of the historic Essex and Suffolk Fire Office, in the High Street was completed in 2009 and has enhanced the western end of the High Street. Colchester Borough Council worked in partnership with the owner of this building to bring about a programme of refurbishment both inside the building and out to convert the upstairs of the building to provide 5 new residential units and externally the facade of the building was repainted.

Firstsite public realm 2011 firstsite,Colchester's innovative new contemporary art gallery, opened in September 2011. Designed by award-winning architect Rafael Vinoly, the landmark firstsite building offers a great range of things for people to do and is a landmark addition to Colchester's tourism offer.

Magistrates' Court The new Magistrate's Court also opened in April 2012, creating a much more striking and inviting gateway to the town centre. Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS) led the delivery of this £30m project.

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