Approval for redevelopment of Colchester’s “beloved” Holy Trinity Square…

Colchester City Council’s Planning Committee has given approval to a major regeneration project for Holy Trinity Square – signifying an important step forward for one of Colchester’s most beloved landmarks.
The project will focus on reviving the significant Holy Trinity Churchyard, which holds historical and cultural importance for the city centre. The plan aims to not only preserve the area’s heritage but also to create a vibrant public space that fosters a greater sense of community.
The rejuvenated square will attract visitors, provide a welcoming environment, and offer new opportunities for local businesses. The council’s ambition is to start the work by autumn and to complete the work by the end of the year. The £600k project will be largely funded using a government grant.
A wide range of stakeholders, including Historic England, architects, planners, local businesses, communities, and residents, have been closely involved in developing and supporting the proposals from the beginning. Letters of support have been shared, expressing enthusiasm for the potential impact of the project on the surrounding area, local businesses, and the character of Trinity Street, with one business describing the project as an “oasis of greenery.”
Sam Good, the Chief Executive Officer of Colchester’s Business Improvement District, expressed his enthusiasm for Holy Trinity Square, stating: “We’re excited about the prospect of unlocking the potential of Holy Trinity Square and the opportunities for our businesses and for Trinity Street. The square is at the core of our City Centre, and it will be truly gratifying to see it enjoyed for generations to come as a public realm.”
However, during the consultation, a conversation point surrounded the proposed security of the square, with some concerns about potential unwanted behaviour. Colchester’s Planning Committee has listened to feedback and the council will introduce measures such as enhanced lighting, the installation of additional CCTV, and the closure of the churchyard when the sun sets, to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the space by all.
Existing measures have been developed in consultation with Historic England, the police, and other stakeholders. It is widely supported that the changes to a small outer section of the railing will allow opportunities for residents, communities, and visitors to enjoy events at the church even when the main churchyard is locked.
Cllr Natalie Sommers, Portfolio Holder for Communities, welcomed the planning decision for Holy Trinity Square: “This is really good news for residents, visitors and businesses. An outcome shaped by extensive consultation.
“I extend my thanks to all those, whether concerned or supporting, for all their views. They have helped us refine the way ahead. All agree that the square and church, with origins dating back to the 11th Century, holds a special place in our city’s rich history.
“Yet, until now, residents and visitors have not had a welcoming space to appreciate its significance grandeur. For nearly 70 years, the square has remained an underutilised public area. Now we can open up and breathe new life into this special place.”
The significant works pave the way for the restoration and adaptation of the church and its associated tower, which will be refurbished to inject new life into the space.
Holy Trinity Square is just one of over 15 city centre regeneration projects which will be completed before 2030. Most of the funding for these projects includes £19.6 million from Levelling Up and £2.5m from Section 106, as well as £19.2 million from the Town Deal. Together, the funding will contribute to regenerating Balkerne Gate, improve cycling infrastructure, bring heritage assets back into public use, and much more for Colchester’s city centre.