The borough's main town is Colchester but there are many surrounding small towns and villages of which the largest are Tiptree, West Mersea and Wivenhoe. The countryside areas of the borough, which include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are mainly used for agriculture.
Colchester has a rich and vast heritage – as the Roman settlement of Camulodonum, it was the first capital of England and it is also Britain's first city. The borough houses a large university of approximately 8,000 students and is also home to a garrison with capacity for approximately 4,000 military personnel.
Colchester’s population of 190,000 in 81,121 households makes it the largest district in Essex, accounting for 12.7% of the county population. Our population is projected to grow to 216,000 by 2030. Over the period 2001-2015, 12,500 new homes were built; 16,000 more are projected to be delivered 2016 - 2032.
Our population and economy are both growing rapidly: Colchester’s growth rate is anticipated to continue to be one of the fastest in the county. 6,877 jobs were created 2004 - 2014 (up 9.6%); and the turnover of the local economy grew to £3.41 billion over the same period, an increase of an estimated £200 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) (using 2010 prices). Significantly, Colchester attracted an estimated £3 billion of inward investment between 2001- 2015.