The plan to get rid St Botolph’s roundabout and discouraging car journeys into Colchester illustrates the basic problem with the Colchester masterplan, which is that it ignores the needs of the surrounding rural areas. Replacing St Botolph’s roundabout with a traffic light controlled junction will almost inevitably create traffic jams on Mersea Road, when currently traffic flows smoothly onto Southway at many times of the day.
The greatest challenge facing Colchester city centre is that we now have two distinct retail areas, one for major chain stores at Stanway and another, which they have largely moved out of, in the city centre. If the small independent shops which make up the bulk of Colchester’s shops are to survive, Colchester City Council needs to encourage more people from the rural areas to come into Colchester – not discourage them.
On Mersea I am sensing that a number of people are now preferring to shop in Maldon rather than Colchester. Both take a similar time to drive to, but Maldon is a pleasanter journey that doesn’t normally end with being stuck in a traffic jam. People have a choice where they shop and Colchester city centre needs the trade from rural areas if it is to survive.
Dr Martin Parsons