Top 10 Screw ups by Colchester Borough Council
1) Tollgate & Stane Park – There has been nothing that has created so much vitriol than to deny Colchester more retail choice. The protectionism of Fenwick versus 1000 jobs has driven trade to local towns in the region. On top of the exorbitant appeal costs at hundreds of thousands of pounds the Council tax payer has been lumbered with.
2) 6m visitors – There was a mistruth spoken by Cllr Tim Young in 2016 stating that Colchester has 6m visitors each year. This puts our town on par with Florence and Mecca as a destination. The braggadocio died down when he was challenged and it turns out Colchester uses the ‘Cambridge model’ which guesstimates who many times locals uses facilities. This was made worse by the lie printed in documents and advertising attracting retail businesses to come to Colchester to invest.
The real figure is around 250,000 tourists per annum.
3) Jack’s Survey – If you are unaware, Jacks is a shop at the end of Long Wyre Street. The council invested £30,000 in a survey to find out what Jack’s could be turned into. The answer was a shop.
Has this cost ever been justified?
4) Big Choice – The original Big Choice was based on Public Voting and was not well advertised. It was always going to be fixed for those with the biggest mailing list. Looking through the list of winners a lot of Coalition councillors had ‘associations’, which did seem to look less than ethical.
5) Gosbecks – The land, rich in Roman History and ripe for excavation was gifted to Colchester council along with £500,000 to develop. That cash has now been frittered away due to cost of grass cutting as Colchester Council does nothing with it.
6) Market – Colchester used a company called Quaterbridge to advise on an already successful market. They closed down the existing one and moved to the High Street and priced current traders out. The result is a 50% occupied market. Quaterbridge have a track record of failed market schemes and googling and reading their exploits is cringeworthy.
7) Queens Jubilee – The council decided to not fully embrace the Jubilee and blew all its budget instead on a cycling road race. Colchester, a Garrison town and oldest recorded in Britain did not adequately celebrate the Queens Jubilee due to cycling.
8) Parking Charges – As the council continues with the scheme of criminalising driving, the car parks moved from a pay as you exit scheme to pay in advance. This also included a price increase and pushing the management to North Essex Parking Partnership.
9) Fixing the Link – Whilst a good idea in essence, the tendering out to a fashionable East London design company, who in turn applied the premium rate for the project just did not give value for money. This could of been designed locally, using local business for around 20% of the cost and would have received a better buy in from locals.
10) Rubbish Collections – A manifesto promise that was made worse by ending up having multiple schemes running across the Borough. To make matters worse, and threatened with resident unrest, it became optional for wheelie bins or not within wards. Allowing the leader of the council Paul Smith who owned the manifesto, himself choosing not to implement wheelie bins in his own Ward. Also in the adjacent ward the Oxford’s also chose to not to go with wheelie bins even though the residents actually requested them.
Roman Wall lit up
Castle Park closing due to events
Traveller Tea Party
Council houses given to London boroughs for cash bonuses