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LATEST NEWS (most recent first)


July 2023 - Charity awarded £250,000 towards the Jumbo restoration project. Details here (opens in new window)

July 2022 - Architects Purcell chosen to design regeneration of Jumbo. Details here (opens in new window)

Feb 2022 - North Essex Heritage invites competitive tenders for designs to 'restore, convert, and extend a historically significant building into a vibrant, community asset with a commercial edge'. Details here (opens in new window)

Dec 2021 - 150 year lease signed by North Essex Heritage and owner Paul Flatman. For the first time Jumbo's future is in the hands of a local charity. Details here (opens in new window)

Mar 2021 - Colchester awarded £18.2 m from the Government's Town Fund. Of this award, £1 million is allocated to the first phase of the restoration of Jumbo.

Sept 2019 - A new book 'Jumbo the water tower' is published by the BTT (For details see home page).

May 2019 - A 'Jumbo Summer' of activities organised by North Essex Heritage is to take place over the summer, culminating on 21 July. Details here (opens in new window)

July 2018 - A stage one application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out the long term scheme for Jumbo agreed with Jumbo's owner, is rejected. Subsequently, North Essex Heritage (the new name for Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust) after talks with the HLF, declares its intention to apply for a revised HLF scheme early in 2019.

Oct 2017 - Agreement is reached between Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust and Paul Flatman, Jumbo's owner, on a long term solution for the restoration and development of Jumbo. Details here

May 2016 - A new Options Appraisal on the future of Jumbo is published by the Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust and the public are invited to comment Details here

Dec 2014 - A s.215 Enforcement Notice is served on Jumbo's owner to carry out long overdue maintenance, as the amenity of the area is being adversely affected by the condition of the building. For details click here.

May 2014 - Jumbo bought for £190,000 at an Allsop auction in London by Mr Paul Flatman, a local poultry farmer. The Balkerne Tower Trust raises £40,000 in donations in only four weeks for an attempt to buy the tower.

April 2014 - Jumbo offered for sale. Owner George Braithwaite announces that he is to sell Jumbo by auction next month. The Balkerne Tower Trust warns potential bidders of problems with planning applications, and the viability of commercial development schemes for Jumbo. Details here (pdf, opens in new window)

Oct 2013 - The plan to convert Jumbo to flats, a restaurant, office space and a museum in the tank is refused by the planning committee by 7 votes to 3, after English Heritage declared that the scheme would 'cause substantial harm to the tower's significance'. Full details here.

May 2013 - New planning applications are submitted to convert Jumbo to flats, a restaurant and office space, but retaining the tank almost intact. For the full BTT response please click here (pdf, opens in new window)

April 2013 - A Jumbo interpretation panel is unveiled by Sir Bob Russell, patron of BTT. For details click here

Mar 2013 - The ugly hoarding around Jumbo, permission for which expired in 2007, is at long last been removed. For details click here

Sept 2011 - The planning application to convert Jumbo to flats, a restaurant and office space is refused by Colchester's Planning Committee by 7 votes to 5. For details click here.

Nov 2009 - The Options Appraisal commissioned by Balkerne Tower Trust on public uses for Jumbo is made public. (Now withdrawn)

Oct 2009 - A planning application is submitted by owner George Braithwaite to convert Jumbo to flats, a restaurant and office space. For details click here

July 2008 - BTT gains registered charity status
Balkerne Tower Trust Ltd is registered with the Charity Commission, and commissions an Options Appraisal by Purcell Miller Tritton on alternative schemes for public uses of Jumbo.

July 2007 - Jumbo's door destroyed by fire
Hidden by the hoarding surrounding Jumbo, vandals set fire to its original oak door. The fact that the building is almost entirely brick, stone and iron saved it, but the door is totally destroyed.

Jan 2007 - Jumbo's roof damaged in high wind
Extremely high winds lift a large section of copper cladding from the west side of the cupola. As it is a danger to the public this section is removed, leaving the roof structure exposed to rain.

Oct 2006 - Planning extension approved, then withdrawn
Colchester's Planning Committee votes to extend permission for each of the previously allowed penthouse conversions for a further 18 months, making the new deadline for starting work April 2008.

However the applications to extend permission are later withdrawn, reportedly because the penthouse schemes were not considered financially viable. Jumbo therefore has no current planning permission.

Feb 2006 - Jumbo sold for record £330,000
Amid huge publicity at an Allsop auction in London, Jumbo water tower is sold for a far higher price than it had ever fetched since sold off by Anglian Water in 1987. It is bought by Mr George Braithwaite of Sudbury.

Shortly before the auction, Balkerne Tower Trust Ltd is formed in an attempt to make a serious bid for Jumbo. Despite large returnable donations and generous financial backing from the Colchester & North East Essex Building Preservation Trust, it is not enough.

Lease Handshake
Historic step – Lease on Jumbo agreed by Paul Flatman (left) and Simon Hall, Chair of North Essex Heritage (right). © NEH

Planned levels
'Substantial harm' ... 2013 Plan to cram Jumbo with ten levels

Roof Damage
The wind damage to Jumbo's roof

Burnt Door
The door destroyed by fire in 2007

Original Door
The original entrance door

Auction 2006
The auctioneer calls time on Jumbo's sale in 2006 [Evening Gazette]