BUSINESS bosses have backed plans for a new £65 million out of town retail, leisure and employment park.

Essex Chambers of Commerce has backed Tollgate Partnership Limited's latest proposals for its Tollgate Village development, dubbed Tollgate Village 2.0.

The £65 million development will see new shops, restaurants, an eight-screen cinema, bowling alley, a 60-bed hotel and business units built in Stanway.

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of the group, which represents firms across the county, has submitted a letter of support in response to the planning application.

It says: "This application will replace the consent already granted for development at the Tollgate site in Stanway, but would add around 100,000 square feet of business units.

"The business units would be of varying sizes suitable for use by all types of businesses but aimed at encouraging young entrepreneurs to locate and develop in Colchester.

"Given the Essex Economic Commission have previously identified a shortage of such units, and especially grow on accommodation for business, we believe this alone justifies consent being granted."

Planning permission for a previous iteration of Tollgate Village was approved on appeal in 2017, however, Tollgate Partnership revised proposals in the wake of changes in the market.

The firm says its proposals will bring in more than £26 million to the Colchester economy as well as create hundreds of jobs.

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The letter adds: "The proposed development as a whole will be of significant economic benefit to Colchester and the north Essex economy bringing with it job opportunities estimated at 460 during construction and 880 post construction.

"It has been estimated it will generate £26 million for the local economy and in addition to the job and business benefits will also see upgrading of road networks, plus additional footpaths and cycleways to link adjoining residential estates with the proposed business units.

"We believe this will be of real benefit to the local economy and we are happy to support it."

Colchester Council will have the final say on the scheme.

You can view the planning application here.