COLCHESTER'S is one of the fastest growing towns across the country.

The town's population is booming and has shot up significantly over the last decade.

This is unlikely to slow down any time soon either, with thousands of new homes set to be built over the coming years.

But as well as new houses, there are also huge new retail and leisure developments set to be built in the town to provide something for new, and existing, residents to do.

They represent tens of millions of pounds worth of investment in the town, at a time when the economy is in severe difficulties.

Here is all we know about the three major developments set to come in the coming years.

Tollgate Village - £70m


Tollgate Village is a £70 million retail and leisure development set to transform Stanway over the coming years.

Once complete, Tollgate Partnership scheme will be a 30,812 sq m retail and leisure park made up primarily of shops at Tollgate Retail Park and the old Sainsbury’s site.

A new cinema, run by The Light, and a bowling alley will be at the heart of the leisure hub which will be located south of Tollgate West, also featuring up to nine restaurants.

The cinema is set to offer 1,300 seats across up to eight screens from a 3,450 sq m unit located on the opposite side of Tollgate West.


There will be 3,240 sq m of other leisure floorspace nearby for the eateries.

There will be public plazas outside both sections of the development and a promenade walking route featuring plants and benches will the link the two.

Works were set to be completed before the end of 2021 with the cinema and bowling alley between them creating 70 new jobs but it is not known whether coronavirus has caused delays.

The cinema will offer independent and mainstream films, including live theatre, music, opera and will also host special events.

A total of 1,523 parking spaces are proposed, of which 241 are located within a multi-storey car park.

Stane Retail Park - £60m


Construction has started on a new £60 million retail park which will create new stores for B&Q, Marks and Spencer and Aldi.

Churchmanor Estates has kicked off building work on the new Stane Retail Park, at Tollgate in Stanway.

The new 173,000 sq ft retail park, about the size of three football pitches, will house a new store for B&Q, an M&S Food Hall and a new Aldi.

The DIY giant is moving from its current home in The Hythe to the new shop, designed with a covered builders yard and improved garden centre.

It's old home is set to become a new Sainsbury's supermarket for residents of The Hythe.

Aldi will be relocating its nearby London Road store to the new unit, which is much larger.


If works progress as planned, the new retail park will be ready to open in September next year.

Churchmanor is also spending £2.6 million on improvements to the Eight Ash Green A12 roundabout, where a four way traffic signal junction is set to be created.

The Western Bypass is also set to be widened to two lanes between Essex Yeomanry Way and the Sainsbury’s roundabout.

Northern Gateway Leisure - £50m


Work on the long-awaited £50 million cinema and leisure complex in the north of Colchester is on course to start 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.

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.