A GIANT state-of-the-art cinema will be the best in the region, ‘by a country mile’ according to the developer behind the scheme.

Plans for the cinema - which will be operated by Cineworld - along with restaurants, leisure facilities and an 80 bed hotel at Colchester’s Northern Gateway close to the A12 at Cuckoo Farm have moved a step closer after Colchester Council’s planning committee voted to give the application the green light last week.

Developers Turnstone estates will be managing the project on the council-owned land and director Chris Goldsmith believes the cinema will be a jewel in the crown for the area.

He said:”We are highly delighted with the decision.

“It has been a bit of a long haul to get to this stage but hopefully we are now nearly there.

“Naturally, I think the decision is the right one and I am really looking forward to be bringing this fantastic leisure site to Colchester.

“This is going to be the best cinema in the region by a country mile.

“It will be a next generation Cineworld with 12-screen, an iMax style feature and 4DX features where the seats move and water is squirted at you to add to the thrills.

“It is going to be a whole new cinema experience.

“They are absolutely first class

“There is nothing like it anywhere in the region and nor I am aware of any plans for anything like it either.”

The developers have already earmarked operators for a miniature golf course, climbing wall and trampolining centre.

Mr Goldsmith said the new facilities along with what is already nearby will draw people to the site.

He said: “With these and the sports facilities the council want to build on the other side of the A12, the stadium and David Lloyd it is going to be fantastic.

“People will travel to come there.”

The only restaurant operator which have signed up for the site is trendy burger chain Smashburger.

Mr Goldsmith said talks were advanced with a number of other firms.

He said: “Getting planning permission over the line is a very important part of attracting restaurants.

“They want to know it is definitely going to happen before they make any kid of commitment.

“We are in talks with a lot of people and are confident things will fall into place.

“We are committed, and the council through the land ownership are committed to making sure we get an eclectic mix of offerings.

“We want interesting cuisines and not just the usual sort of restaurants you want find on a lesser leisure park.”

Before it is handed full planning permission, the application will have to be seen by the secretary of state who will decide if he needs to hold an extended inquiry.

Mr Goldsmith will said he hopes work can being in 2018.

He said: “We are hoping it will be next year.

“We still need to go through the planning process.

“There were interesting points about solar panels and cycle access and we will need to work out a section 106 agreement.

“Also I need to find a builder so I would expect it to be about six months before any work can begin.”

Mr Goldsmith added all of the facilities are likely to open at the same time, except for the hotel -a Travelodge - which could open earlier.

“Traditionally you would hope everything could start together and there would be a grand opening,” he said.”

“Inevitably, one or two of the restaurants will not be ready in time, but you would try to time everything to open at the same time as the cinema does.

“The hotel could open sooner because it does not rely on the rest of the site in the same way.”