Colchester Town Centre

Things are changing in Colchester Town Centre…

Whether you live here, work here, shop here, come for the culture or the nightlife, you’ll recognise that things are changing in Colchester Town Centre.  We want the town centre to be a welcoming place at all times of the day; making the town centre a social place as well as one for doing business. A place where people meet and become involved in their community.

Creating Quality Public Spaces and Places

It’s important that any new buildings and street scenes compliment Colchester’s existing architecture. This can be by contrasting old with new in interesting ways. But connecting spaces matter too.

Recent improvement projects include:

  • New Magistrates’ Court and Town Square
  • Firstsite
  • St Botolph’s Priory

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.  Examples of recent new and refurbished buildings include:

  • Fenwick’s (formerly Williams & Griffin)
  • 37 Queen Street (the old Police Station)
  • Curzon Cinema (the old Keddies)
  • Greyfriars Boutique Hotel (formerly Greyfriars Adult Education Centre)
  • Magistrates’ Court
  • Firstsite Visual Art Gallery
  • Colchester Castle Museum
  • Three Wise Monkeys

Supporting Businesses and Retailers

Recent years have been tough for business but Colchester’s diverse business scene has proven itself to be impressively resilient. The task now is to create the right spaces and conditions for businesses to survive and thrive, for new enterprises to take off and for Colchester to keep its skilled people working locally.

The ‘Our Colchester’ BID (Business Improvement District) company was established after a successful vote in 2018. Find out more about the work and plans of Our Colchester below.

Examples of recent and new town centre businesses include:

  • Fenwick’s
  • Primark
  • Hotel Chocolat
  • Flying Tiger
  • Wagamumas
  • Carluccio’s
  • Three Wise Monkeys
  • Space Studios in 37 Queen Street
  • Relocated Colchester Market

Making it easier to get to and around Colchester

Heritage towns were not designed to cope with the demands of 21st century traffic but what’s the solution? A range of approaches are being considered which are intended to make it easier to get around Colchester: improving access for buses, making it easier to cycle, more attractive to walk around and improving air quality by reducing unnecessary traffic in the town centre. Recent projects include:

New Park & Ride Service

New Bus Station

New Junction 28 from the A12

New road into Colchester from Junction 28, the ‘Via Urbis Romanae’

New and upgraded cycle routes

Changing Colchester After Dark

Like so many town centres around the country, Colchester suffers from a perception that in the evening, it can feel unwelcoming to some people. Colchester has also received unfair media coverage in recent years, but great efforts are being made to deliver real change.

The evening and night-time economy is vital to Colchester’s economy, generating an estimated £55 million for local businesses a year, and employing more than 3,000 people. Colchester at night offers a wide range of restaurants, bars, clubs, the Mercury Theatre and many live music venues.


Many groups and partnerships have a role to play. Essex Police in partnership with the Community Safety Partnership works together to make the town centre safer. This group brings together Colchester City Council (CCC)/Police Licensing, CCC Street Services, Transport, Club/Pub Watch, CCC Anti-Social Behaviour Team, CCC Environmental Services, Neighbourhood Action Panel, Neighbourhood Watch, the SOS Bus, Street Pastors and Resident Groups.

2012 saw changes to national Licensing legislation and since then there has been a change in how the night-time economy has been managed in partnership with the Police.

Locations for Growth

Colchester is one of the fastest growing districts in the country… 

A Great Place to Live

Find out what makes Colchester an amazing place to live. 

Colchester – Ultra Ready