Bill Frame, Lib Dem Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Planning at Colchester Borough Council, writes: This week the East Anglian Daily Times had a front page headline of “DREAM TOWN”, and stated that Colchester has a centre “other towns dream of” according to a national retail expert.
The paper quoted Ed Cooke, director of policy at the British Council of Shopping Centres, as saying that Colchester “is one of a handful of shining examples of a shopping destination, bringing together retail, leisure and culture all in one place.”
It often takes someone from outside to see what we take for granted as being something special. For instance, my sister and brother in law came to stay with us in October and we were lucky that we had the Light and Shade event the weekend they were here. They were amazed at the variety of things happening in such a compact area.
It’s by these sorts of events that Colchester Presents, who helped organise Light and Shade, can unlock the potential of the Town, with all our heritage as well. Colchester Presents is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company set up in the autumn to benefit the community by the town centre working together. I recently became one of the directors.
I have had some really positive feedback from Town Centre businesses on the proposals Colchester Presents have put forward for the Town Centre.
These include raising donations from businesses to employ a Town Centre Manager, either full time or part time – an important step forward in communicating with Town Centre businesses and giving focus to what Colchester has to offer.
The Lib Dem-led Borough Council has also invested in a new Hot Jet Washer to keep Colchester clean. However, before we let it loose we have employed a firm of “gumbusters” to get rid of the embedded chewing gum on the pavement. Hopefully all those white blobs will be a thing of the past.
These are just some of the things we are doing as Liberal Democrats in the coalition to keep “Dream Town” Colchester prosperous and exciting.