BUSINESSES at Colchester’s long-awaited multi-million-pound leisure park are finally starting to welcome customers but there is still a lot to look forward to.

American fast-food giant Wendy’s became the first business to open its doors at Colchester’s Northern Gateway Leisure Park last month.

Its neighbour Greggs, known for its sausage rolls, looks to be the next brand to welcome Colchester diners with the instantly recognisable Greggs shade of blue visible on the exterior of its new home.

The £65million complex, which is located a stone’s throw away from Colchester United’s stadium just off junction 28 of the A12, is set to be home to several dining and leisure outlets.

Gazette: Keen - diners arrived early for the opening of Wendy'sKeen - diners arrived early for the opening of Wendy's (Image: Newsquest)

A Travelodge hotel, Hollywood Bowl bowling alley, Puttstars indoor golf centre, Jump Street climbing centre, and 12-screen Cineworld cinema are expected to join Wendy’s and Greggs at the development.

Seven restaurants are also set to open at the huge site, including Kervan Kitchen - a regional buffet operator which offers a wide range of global dishes, a Mediterranean restaurant, and a gelato hub which have all agreed to lease units at the Northern Gateway.

Wendy’s went down a hit with diners following its opening in July.

Its first customer Sally Langley told the Gazette it was “nice to get something different for Colchester”.

But the fast-food restaurant came under fire for its cashless ordering system with many Colchester residents insisting they would boycott the burger brand unless they decide to accept cash.

A question mark has remained over the future of financially fraught cinema operator Cineworld’s new venue after it entered bankruptcy in September last year.

Gazette: Coming soon - Cineworld is expected to open at Colchester's Northern GatewayComing soon - Cineworld is expected to open at Colchester's Northern Gateway (Image: Northern Gateway)

Colchester Council previously said it has a contingency plan in place which would see other providers swoop in if Cineworld were to go under.

Speaking previously, the council’s former local economy boss Adam Fox said he expected the 200,000 sq ft development would be complete in the autumn.