|Colchester Borough Council and its subsidiary commercial company Colchester Amphora Trading are in the running to scoop three prizes in the prestigious LGC Awards 2020 – dubbed the ‘biggest celebration of excellence in local government’.
This year’s competition saw a record number of entries, with the council shortlisted in three categories: Driving Growth; Entrepreneurial Council, and Digital Impact
The council’s Driving Growth entry highlights its key role, alongside its wholly-owned commercial companies Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL), Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd (CAEL) and Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd (CAHL), in helping to create strong foundations to boost economic development and prosperity in the borough.
Examples include the flagship Northern Gateway scheme delivering a state-of-the-art sports park, 350 new homes and commercial business space with ultrafast broadband, and an innovative low-carbon ground-sourced heat network.
Also highlighted is the council’s role in stimulating the office and commercial market, which saw the borough rise 34 places in the 2019 ‘Hot Office Location’ Index compiled by location analysts CACI.
Partnership with Essex University has helped its £250m ‘Knowledge Gateway’ attract 18 new companies and boost student numbers by 50%. Colchester was also named a creative hotspot, following the £9.6m Mercury Theatre expansion and RICS award-winning Creative Business Centre.
The Entrepreneurial Council shortlisting predominantly showcases the work of the council’s wholly-owned commercial companies CATL, CAEL and CAHL since their formation in 2018. Projects undertaken in that time include:
• A £95m mixed-tenure housebuilding programme delivering 408 new homes – 30% of them affordable
• The nationally significant £6.7m Northern Gateway Heat Network
• Organising an eclectic programme of events attracting 211,000 customers and generating significant local economic benefits
• Delivering the council’s £30m capital programme
• Attracting £18.7m of external funding, strengthening partnership working and attracting further inward investment
• Obtaining £20m in property sales.
Colchester Amphora Trading’s entry in the Digital Impact category follows its work to deliver the new ultrafast broadband network currently being rolled out to businesses and homeowners in the town centre.
The project, which strongly aligns with the council’s strategic priorities to develop a thriving town centre, brings a modern telecoms infrastructure capable of providing lightning-fast connectivity to the town centre. With an ever-increasing need for faster connectivity, CATL’s Colchester Fibre programme is dramatically improving local and commercial access to futureproof gigabit-speed broadband.
Adrian Pritchard (pictured), Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council and Managing Director of Colchester Commercial (Holdings) Ltd, said: “I’m really thrilled that we have been shortlisted in these prestigious national awards.
“The strength of each one of our entries against such stiff opposition reflects favourably on our efforts to pursue new and innovative ways to deliver on our strategy to promote business, attract inward investment and create more growth in the borough – not least through the formation of our new commercial companies.”
Cllr Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “These nominations are a fantastic reflection of the council’s achievements, both alone and in partnership, which have helped Colchester become one of the fastest growing places in the UK.
“Making it through to the final stages of the LGC Awards in the ‘Driving Growth’, ‘Entrepreneurial Council’ and ‘Digital Impact’ categories attests to our success in managing services and assets in a more business-like and commercial manner while retaining a strong public-sector ethos.”
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, added: “I’m delighted to see the knowledge, dedication and sheer hard work of our staff recognised in these awards.
“Councils are fast-changing organisations and Colchester Borough Council is no exception. These awards acknowledge just how much we have risen to the challenge of promoting and supporting the borough as a key growth area and investment hotspot that is proving a great choice not only as a thriving business location, but as a vibrant and welcoming place to live and raise families.”