A number of updates in this, quick links in the list:
Closure of Buildings
Following the Government’s advice on helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 CBC has taken the decision to close buildings to the public from close of play today (Thursday 18 March).
However, while the buildings are closed to the public, all other services, including the Community Hub and Waste and Recycling Service, are operating as usual. Parks, public spaces and public toilets are also open. The buildings that will close to the public include:
- All Leisure World sites (including Aqua Springs),
- Charter Hall,
- Town Hall,
- Colchester Castle Museum,
- Hollytrees Museum (including the Visitor Information Centre),
- The Natural History Museum,
- High Woods Country Park Visitor Centre,
- Colchester Borough Homes Greenstead Housing Office.
It is anticipated that these buildings will be closed for the foreseeable future. However, this will be reviewed on at least a weekly basis.
CBC have said that anyone who has purchased a ticket or place for any classes, events or shows at any of these venues will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund or the opportunity to attend any events or shows being rescheduled. In particular:
- Leisure World – Membership charges for Leisure World will be frozen during this period. colchesterleisureworld.co.uk/
- Colchester Museums – While Colchester Castle and the museums will be closed to the general public, they will still accommodate any planned educational visits behind closed doors while the schools remain open. cimuseums.org.uk/
- The Visitor Information Centre – (based in Hollytrees Museum) will continue to operate through its website visitcolchester.com and its social media channels providing advice for locals and visitors alike. It will still give updates on venues and attractions during this time. visitcolchester.com/
- Colchester Borough Homes – Tenants will continue to be able to contact Colchester Borough Homes by telephone on 01206 282514 or email [email protected] for advice and assistance. cbhomes.org.uk/.
Residents can still contact the council through its’ website and details of how to contact services can be found at colchester.gov.uk/contact/ or by calling 01206 282222.
The Community Hub at Colchester Library remains open as usual, with opening hours of 9 am-5 pm.
While the council’s buildings are closed to the public all other services, including the Community Hub and Waste and Recycling Service are operating as usual. Our parks, public spaces and public toilets are also open.
Residents needing to contact the council during this period can access the council’s service’s digitally through our website or can call 01206 282222.
Colchester Borough Homes’ tenants can call 01206 282514 or email [email protected] for advice and assistance.
Leader of Colchester Borough Council, Cllr Mark Cory, said:
I want to reassure our residents that just because we have closed our buildings to help stop spread of this virus the council is not shutting down.
All of our usual services are currently still running. We will be collecting people’s waste and recycling, supporting the vulnerable in our communities and working with partners to help Colchester through this unparalleled period.
Our parks and open spaces are also still open so people can still exercise and see the sites of our beautiful borough while following the Government’s guidelines on self-distancing.
Mayor Reports Uplifting Response
The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Nick Cope, praised the community spirit being shown around the borough in the face of national measures being put in place to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
His message to the residents of Colchester follows:
I know that many in our community are increasingly concerned, like me, by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and troubled by the measures being asked of each one of us to stem the tide of infection, which are unprecedented in peacetime history.
Even in wartime, cafes and cinemas stay open and public life carries on as usual. That’s how you know this is a different thing altogether from whatever else you have seen in your lifetime.
We should take comfort whenever we can and wherever we find it. Whilst the situation continues to develop rapidly, the response so far in our community has been incredibly heartening – with local groups and individuals stepping forward to support some of our most vulnerable residents.
The council is also doing a great deal to provide some clarity and reassurance at this very difficult time. It is doing everything it can to help coordinate and support communities, businesses and especially to assist those older and more vulnerable residents who will need to isolate themselves as this virus spreads.
On Monday, the council announced it was stepping up its plans to tackle the coronavirus with all the group leaders agreeing to work across the political spectrum to protect frontline services, keep staff safe and key services running.
Moving forward, expect this to mean the council communicating clearly and frequently with residents about the actions being taken and to inform people of the actions they can also take in their local community.
It is vitally important that we all follow the Government’s social distancing advice, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That is why – in light of Government advice – we have closed our buildings including all Leisure World sites, Charter Hall, and Colchester Castle until further notice.
However, thanks to the valiant efforts of our hard-working staff we are ensuring the work of the council continues with key services like the Community Hub and the Waste and Recycling Service currently operating as usual. Our parks, public spaces and public toilets will also remain open.
As with everything the council is doing right now, this will be kept under constant review and in line with the very latest Government advice.
I, for my part, have decided to cancel all official engagements until further notice, but may still be contacted throughout this difficult time via email at [email protected] or Facebook at www.facebook.com/colchester.gov.uk/
For the latest news on the council’s work to help stop the spread of the coronavirus please see http://www.colchester.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please stay safe, everyone.