How Colchester is transforming itself into the ideal business location

Horizon Construction's new officesColchester: Ultraready for Business

Colchester, Britain’s oldest recorded town, is transforming itself into the ideal business location offering a unique combination of business opportunities, culture and first-class education provisions. The town has optimised its setting by implementing strategies to become one of the best-connected locations in the Eastern region by improving infrastructure, securing added value employment, increasing its attraction for businesses and residents alike.

The town is taking an ‘infrastructure first’ approach securing direct fibre connections in all major business parks in order to optimise their investment potential and work is currently underway on a new growth area, Colchester’s Northern Gateway, which has recently been awarded £5.5m funding by the government. The aspiration around the Northern Gateway is for it to become a destination for sport, leisure and business of regional significance. Companies such as Horizon Construction and Arc Legal are already taking advantage of the business benefits Colchester offers by choosing to expand and grow their businesses in the town.

“We know that Colchester is a great place to do business and we want to encourage more companies to re-locate to our town. When companies are looking for a new location to grow their business, we want to ensure that Colchester is firmly on their radar and that they recognise we have a highly skilled and entrepreneurial workforce ready to help them achieve their goals.”


Will Quince, Colchester MP

Colchester’s Northern Gateway

 Colchester's Northern GatewayColchester Borough Council owns 250 acres of developable land at the Northern Gateway with just under 20 acres being promoted for development of high quality offices.  The Northern Gateway, which is being created for businesses, is backed by £5.5 million government funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The HIF funding will be used to construct a 500m-long pedestrian-priority boulevard and deliver key highway improvements connecting the site to the existing roads network.

The commercial land will be situated just one mile from Colchester’s mainline rail station and will be adjacent to Junction 28 on the A12, providing the perfect opportunity for occupiers seeking a top-quality site in a highly accessible location.

"This is an extremely exciting project that Colchester can be proud of and will bring numerous tangible benefits to the Borough. This additional funding is recognition by the Government that Colchester is continuing to build on its reputation as a major centre for job creation and as a magnet for growth within the region - and deservedly so."


Cllr Annie Feltham, Portfolio Holder, Commercial Services & Deputy to the Leader, Colchester Borough Council

Colchester’s Digital Strategy

Colchester TownColchester intends to further its economic growth plans through improving connectivity in order to become one of the best-connected locations in the Eastern region. The town introduced Ultrafast Broadband in the town centre in 2017 becoming part of a unique handful of places around the country offering world-class symmetrical connectivity of up to one gigabit (1,000Mbps) via fibre.

The town is also taking an ‘infrastructure first’ approach to developing employment land by installing Gigabit connectivity to areas ahead of development. Currently ultrafast broadband has been made available for 900 businesses in the town centre and is already attracting new creative, digital, technology and IT businesses to the area.  

Further benefits of Colchester as a business location

Many companies have benefited from locating to Colchester which is currently benefiting from £3 billion local authority and private sector investment in five development areas…

  • Tollgate
  • Northern Approaches
  • Hythe
  • The town centre
  • The Knowledge Gateway at the University of Essex

In addition there are significant savings in business costs with Colchester’s prime office space being 74% cheaper than the City of London, 46% cheaper than Cambridge and 31% cheaper than the average of the UK core cities.

"We want to show everyone the golden opportunity that Colchester presents to investors, re-locating businesses and existing organisations within our town."


Will Quince, Colchester MP

Access to world-class research

University of Essex Colchester campusColchester offers businesses easy access to world-class research and development in areas including data science, robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as excellent employment, education and training opportunities. The University of Essex is ranked in the top 20 in the UK for research and for education, and produces 4,500 graduates a year.

The town has also become popular for start-ups as the Innovation Centre at the University of Essex’s new Innovation Centre will provide workspace and hands-on support to help 50 start-up companies to scale-up and succeed when it opens later this year. Businesses in the creative sector are also benefitting from the creative business centre at 37 Queen Street run by SPACE Studios, a leading operator of creative business space in and around London. The centre provides a creative workspace facility offering artist studios, co-working desk space and networking facilities for creative and digital businesses, artists and makers.

“Colchester is very well connected. It is close to London, which is handy for some of our tenants, but it is also a town with a strong identity of its own. It has an interesting creative community already, although it is under the radar.”  


Anna Harding, Chief Executive, SPACE Studios

For more information about the changes being made to Colchester, see here.

How INVEST Essex can aid with relocation

INVEST Essex can advise and aid companies interested in locating their businesses to Colchester, or other areas of Essex. INVEST Essex work with their partners to provide professional business advice and services for businesses of all sizes and at all stages of their growth journey.  

For more information contact one of the team here.

[Source: Biz East]

Simon Papworth
Simon Papworth

Inward Investment Manager (High-Technology Cluster)

+44 (0) 7515 199255


Simon has worked in inward investment for the last four years, building a wide network of trusted business connections, working on a variety of successful projects in the advanced manufacturing sector. Prior to this, Simon spent 7 years advising business owners and entrepreneurs, with a focus on bringing innovative products to market.