SAINSBURY'S bosses have finally unveiled blueprints for an empty commercial unit in Colchester - but they no longer include a new store.

The supermarket giant has revealed plans to rejuvenate and transform the former B&Q site at Lightship Way after years of speculation.

The complex will now become home to an Argos Local Fulfilment Centre, a 15,000-ft gym, and a retail unit, subject to planning permission.

The new distribution centre will aim to offer households in the area a choice of more than 20,000 products for same day home delivery or collection from nearby Click & Collect points.

Sainsbury's believes this will give residents across Colchester access to a much greater choice of products, and faster than ever before.

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Plans for a new supermarket at the site were first granted planning permission back in 2016.

The groceries business was set to take over the lease of the unit in 2019, but B&Q then signed a two-year extension, before eventually relocating to Stane Retail Park.

Since last year’s move to Stanway, however, the site has remained empty, with questions being raised over whether Sainsbury’s was still interested in the unit.

The brand has now finally revealed what it intends to do with the site, but the vision no longer includes a new supermarket.

READ MORE: Colchester Sainsbury's store no longer in plans for Lightship Way

If given the go-ahead, however, bosses believe the development could open sometime next year, creating 100 new jobs across a range of roles and levels.

These will include roles for drivers, warehouse operatives and management personnel within the local fulfilment centre, which is similar to a distribution centre.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “The proposals we are submitting represent a major investment into Lightship Way which will support local economic growth.

“The vacant site will be put to good use and we look forward to listening to the views of the community as we move forward.”

The updated proposals will replace the previous planning permission for a new store, but Sainsbury’s bosses believe the new vision will make the best possible use of the site.

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Lee Scordis, Colchester councillor for Old Heath and The Hythe, said: “A new Sainsbury’s would have been nice but I think these will be good additions to the area.

“We do already have a large Tesco just opposite the roundabout so you will get less traffic from not having a Sainsbury’s - I think this will benefit to the area.”

A dedicated website has been created to provide neighbours of the site an opportunity to view the proposals in detail and share feedback.

This can be accessed by visiting