IT is fair to say aerial pictures from above Stanway would have looked much different a decade ago.

The village which is as little as three miles west of Colchester town centre has become much busier over the last few years with hundreds of houses springing up - usually in brand new estates.

And there are more new additions to come.

Designs for a major new £70 million retail and leisure development have been approved by experts.

Colchester Council’s planning department has rubber stamped Tollgate Partnership Limited’s reserved matters application for its Tollgate Village development in Stanway after years of wrangling.

The scope of the development will be significant but will also bring jobs to the area and make the area more attractive for residents.

At the moment there are four schools in the village and the Stanway School - a secondary - has the claim to be the place where Blur founders and music legends Graham Coxon and Damon Albarn met.

Another school is on the horizon.

A new much-needed 420-place primary will be built off Christopher Garnett Chase in the coming years and be known as Lakelands.

It will serve the youngsters moving into the estate of the same name from 2020.

As development continues apace - it will be interesting to see how the village looks in another ten years.