BUSINESS leaders have welcomed plans to create two new cycle routes linking up most of Colchester town centre, but warned against any potential loss of businesses’ loading bays.

Essex County Council is hoping to secure funding from the Government to create the new north to south and west to east routes as part of its Safer, Greener, Healthier project.

The north route would link Mile End Road with Butt Road, running past North Station, up North Hill and through the town centre via Head Street.

Plans also include the creation of a Dutch-style system at the Albert Roundabout.

Some roads close to a number of schools will be designated a school street zone with 20mph limits.

It means only pedestrians and cyclists can use the roads at school start and finish times.

The west route will run along Lexden Road, across Balkerne Hill and into Crouch Street, and would include upgrades to crossings along the route.

Our Colchester Business Improvement District (BID) has welcomed the proposals, but raised concerns about the impact any loss of loading bays would have on firms.

A spokesman said: “The BID supports the principle aims of the project which include improvements to air quality, reduction of traffic congestion and to deliver the infrastructure which will provide safe cycling and walking routes into and through the town centre.

“We have raised our concerns, to which Essex County Council is listening, about the impact the relocation, loss or reduction of loading bays along the route will have on the ability of the businesses to service their shops.

“Essex County Council is actively consulting with the BID and has included us in the Colchester Active Travel Steering Group where we continue to represent the interests of our town centre businesses.”

The Safer, Greener Healthier scheme came about in June in a bid to give residents more space to social distance in the town centre.

The second stage of plans are more ambitious and County Hall hopes to secure as much as £7.7 million for improvements across Essex.

Feedback on the cycle route plans can be emailed to