A TRIATHLON shop is set to close down after 18 years, ahead of a housing development being built in its place.

53-12 at the Cowdray Centre, off Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, is among a number of businesses set to go when 262 homes are built following planning permission.

However director Ed Page said the decision to close the shop was also based on other factors, including a motorcycle accident which left him injured earlier this year.

Mr Page, 48, said: “The Cowdray Centre has been in for redevelopment for many years and it is looking like it is going to get replaced for housing. As a result of that we have looked at the viability of moving but it is not an option.

“So we have decided to draw a close to it. It is a shame because we have had so many customers and so much support over the years.

“Everyone wants the convenience and the value of shopping online but the down side is businesses cannot compete in a multi-million pound sector.”

Mr Page’s shop has sponsored a number of top athletes over the years including British international triathletes Andrea Whitcomb and Abbie Thorrington.

It has also sponsored a Sunday morning cross-country running league under its name.

Mr Page said the motorcycle accident he was hurt in, in March also made him re-evaluate personal priorities.

“I was riding what I considered safely and hit an unlit traffic island in Elmstead Market.

“That makes you realise life can change in less than a second’s notice.”

Mr Page broke both his feet and as a result will be unable to compete in running events and triathlons himself ever again.

He added closing the shop had been both a “difficult decision” but also a “relief”.

“We got through one of the biggest recessions and were burned down badly but you get to the point where there is more to life than chasing profit all the time.”

Mr Page said businesses at the site were accepting of their impending closures.

“We have known for a long time it is going to be happening and I wouldn’t say there is anger, it just acceptance.”

Three part-time staff work at the shop which has been leased from BMO.

Mr Page said he does not yet know what he plans to do next.

A major fire at the site in 2006 gutted industrial units.

Developer Persimmon Homes is now behind the bid to build demolish buildings and build homes to redevelop the site.

While part of the Cowdray Centre will remain – everything west of The Range – the rest of the site is now earmarked for the housing.

The development, accessed via Mason Road, will involve the demolition of business units.

The majority of the businesses will be unsuitable for the new development.

The detailed proposals will go before Colchester Council’s planning committee following outline approval being granted in 2016.