PLANS for a long-awaited £50 million cinema and leisure complex have been submitted, with work on course to begin on site early next year.

Turnstone Estates has submitted a planning application to Colchester Council for its 200,000 sq ft Northern Gateway leisure scheme.

Fresh plans for the development include a 12-screen cinema, run by Cineworld and featuring Superscreen and 4DX facilities.

There will also be a Hollywood Bowl alley, a Putt Stars indoor golf centre and a climbing facility run by Jump Street.

Seven restaurant units, revised down from 12, now feature in the plans, along with two drive-thrus and a 90-bed hotel, set to be run by Travelodge.

The complex will have 750 parking spaces and eight electric vehicle charging points.

If plans are approved, work will begin at the start of 2021, for completion in 2022/23.


  • How the Northern Gateway leisure site could look 

Chris Goldsmith, managing director of Turnstone Estates, said: “Despite the current uncertainty around the leisure sector, we have been buoyed by the continued level of occupational demand for Northern Gateway.

“Our revised plans will help to deliver an exciting, state-of-the-art leisure development for Colchester in a post-Covid environment.”

Colchester Council’s firm Colchester Amphora Trading is project managing the scheme along with neighbouring plans for 350 new homes, a private hospital, homes for elderly residents and commercial floorspace.

Once complete the whole of the Northern Gateway, including the adjoining sports park, will use a carbon neutral heat network and new ultra-fast broadband infrastructure.


  • The development will be anchored by a 12-screen Cineworld cinema 

Colchester Council business boss David King said: “This represents an exciting and significant step forward in the development of a project which will bring some fantastic new leisure facilities as well as more hugely valuable new jobs and investment.

"It shows again the confidence of others in Colchester’s future as a great place to live, work and visit.”

Council leader Mark Cory added: “This is a joint council and private sector project which will bring major benefits to Colchester. It is a real boost for our economy at this difficult time.”

“This project is a great example of how the council is using its assets to provide a whole new entertainment and leisure complex for residents and visitors to enjoy, whilst ensuring it brings in money for the council to help pay for frontline services.

“We are working with Turnstone and other partners at the wider Northern Gateway project, which includes the new Sports Park north of the A12 and a healthcare campus to the South.

“All will benefit local residents and create hundreds of jobs for our local economy. Furthermore, it is built on green credentials, with the largest ground source heat network of its kind in the country, using natural energy to provide heating and hot water for the whole area.

“This is another project where we are leading the country, something Colchester should be proud of.”

Turnstone is being advised by Whybrow and Wareing and Partners.

Colchester Council's planning committee will have the final say on the plans.