A contractor has been appointed to work on the construction of the council's flagship Northern Gateway development, with work set to begin early next year.

Following a competitive tender process, Colchester Council has selected Chelmsford-based R G Carter to work on the multimillion pound sports and leisure hub.

The council said the company was chosen because it has delivered similar developments with commercial companies located across the country.

Leader of the council Mark Cory said: "RG Carter’s appointment reflects their proven track-record in delivering major and complex developments to the high quality and exacting standards expected by the council and Northern Gateway’s development team, Colchester Amphora Trading.

“We look forward to working with them in delivering the much-anticipated sports and leisure park to the residents of Colchester and the surrounding area.”

The initial phase of the development is made up of 76 acres of leisure facilities, roughly the size of 38 football pitches, featuring a cycling track, sports centre, archery range as well as outdoor mixed use spaces.

The sports centre design includes a gym, studio space, a sports hall which will be a regional hub for cricket and badminton, and a on-site cafe.

A new "high-specification" clubhouse will be created for Colchester Rugby Club and the club will benefit from both 3G and natural grass pitches at its new home.

James Wilson, director and general manager of R G Carter, said: "R G Carter is delighted to be collaborating with Colchester Borough Council and is proud to play a part in the town’s vision for growth and innovation.

"We look forward to successfully delivering a first-class, high-quality facility that will serve the local community for many years to come.”

Construction will start in early 2019, with Colchester Amphora Trading managing the build.

It was revealed last month the expected costs of the proposed plans had increased to a total of £25.38 million.