In recent weeks a number of big names have left or revealed plans to leave the town centre.

So here we have taken a look at shops, venues and restaurants which have opened over the last few months – and those which are planning to arrive in town soon.

Tesco Express, High Street

Tesco has been given the green light to open a new shop inside an empty historic building in Colchester High Street.

The supermarket giant has been given planning permission to create a new shopfront and install illuminated signage on an empty unit in the town centre.

It was home to outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Mountain Warehouse, which closed in 2020, and is located next door to the town centre McDonald's.

The move could create dozens of new jobs.

Black Sheep Coffee

A coffee shop is set to open its doors in Colchester after a series of plans were approved.

Black Sheep Coffee, which boasts stores in London, Edinburgh and Manchester, will serve customers a brew when it opens in Culver Street East.

The vibrant brand has had plans approved to install illuminated signage in Culver Street East and Culver Walk, as well as a projected sign.

Black Sheep Coffee’s website states it serves the “world’s first speciality grade robusta beans on the market.”


Milksha, which sells products ranging from bubble tea to ice cream, has applied to open a premises in the former Coffee Republic site in Head Street.

The works will include new signage installed as well as a projecting sign and internal window displays.

Furthermore, the store’s interior will be refurbished to transform it from the original coffee shop design.

Colchester Council has the final say.

Patisserie, Sir Isaac’s Walk

The application for Sir Isaac’s Walk will see the patisserie and café open to the public.

The unit is currently vacant but was formerly used as a financial advisor’s office.

The applicants say design of the patisserie has been “carefully thought through” and period features will be “exposed and celebrated.”

The plans have been approved by Colchester Council subject to some conditions.

Ella’s Nail House

Ella’s Nail House, in Trinity Street, opened last year.

Ella Slaughter, 34, lives with her husband Michael and their daughters in Abbey Field, Colchester, having moved to England permanently in 2019.

The mother-of-two previously worked in five-star hotels and owned a bar in Vietnam, having studied hotel and business management in Switzerland.

Ella’s Nail House boasts high quality products, 2,000 different gel colours from well-known brands, nail extensions, manicures, pedicures and much more.

Emson Haig

The luxury jewellery store received planning permission from Colchester Council to revamp a vacant unit, the former home of the town's Oasis clothing store, which has been empty since 2017.

Plans included installing a new Portland stone store front with framed windows, fascias and store risers in an anodised metal finish.

New security glazing will be installed, with brand names for Emson Haig and Rolex applied to the frontage.

Emson Haig is an independent jeweller which set up its first store 25-years-ago at Lakeside.

Stane Park

B&Q, Aldi and Cook have all opened at the site over the last few months.

Marks and Spencer will also open a new Foodhall and clothes and homeware shop later this year when it moves from its High Street base.


B&M opened a new store and garden centre at Turner Rise retail park.

It has gone into the unit formerly used by Go Outdoors.

The firm already has a shop in Tollgate Retail Park which opened back in 2013, so the new shop will be its second in the town.


The supermarket brand has opened a new store in the former Homebase unit in St Andrews Avenue.

Alongside it are a new Costa and Subway.

Northern Gateway (Cineworld, Travelodge, Wendy’s, Greggs and Kervan Kitchen)

Construction has got underway for the Northern Gateway Leisure Park.

Turnstone Estates has appointed HG Construction as the main contractor for the 200,000 sqft development.

Plans for the Northern Gateway scheme were first mooted in 2015 and were given permission in December 2020.

The multi-million pound leisure park will have a Cineworld, Travelodge with 90 rooms, while restaurants Wendy’s and Greggs will now each boast a drive-thru on the site.

There will also be a Kervan Kitchen serving up authentic Turkish cuisine.

The project has already secured a 20-lane bowling alley from Hollywood Bowl and a Puttstars indoor golf centre.

Jump Street will also be opening a climbing centre.

The building work on the project is scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2023.

Are you set to open a business in Colchester? Let us know by emailing