CONSTRUCTION work has started which will completely transform a disused B&Q store.

Retail giant Argos confirmed work has started on its new local fulfilment centre, in Lightship Way, Colchester, which is expected to open before the end of this year.

The site has remained empty since DIY retailer B&Q relocated to Stanway’s Stane Park in 2021.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, which owns Argos, first eyed up the huge site in 2016 and was granted permission to build a new supermarket there.

Gazette: Spotted - signs have been put up at the former B&Q siteSpotted - signs have been put up at the former B&Q site (Image: Josh Howland)

More recently it submitted a fresh bid to Colchester Council including a variety of offerings which was approved earlier this year.

What's being built at the old B&Q in Colchester?

As well as the Argos warehouse, a 15,000 sq ft discount gym and a retail unit will open, though it is currently unknown which brands will occupy these additional units.

Gazette: Retail space - the former B&Q store in Lightship Way, ColchesterRetail space - the former B&Q store in Lightship Way, Colchester (Image: Google)

An Argos spokesman said: “We’re pleased that construction work to rejuvenate our site at Lightship Way is now in progress.

“We’re converting the building into a new Argos local fulfilment centre, along with two other commercial units, and we’re also now in the process of recruiting new colleagues to join our fantastic logistics team.

“Once open the new fulfilment centre will help us to bring more Argos products to customers in the surrounding area more quickly, as part of our plan to make Argos a more convenient, digital business.”

Recruitment has started for some roles at the fulfilment centre already and anyone interested can apply by visiting the jobs section of the Sainsbury’s website.

Argos closed its popular city centre store, in Long Wyre Street, in October 2020 which was followed by the closure of its store at the Tollgate Centre, Stanway, last year.

Gazette: Closed - Argos, in Long Wyre Street, ColchesterClosed - Argos, in Long Wyre Street, Colchester

The business now operates from within its parent company’s superstore in Western Approach, Stanway, which is just a few minutes away from its former Tollgate location.

As well as taking on the Lightship Way site, Sainsbury’s has also started construction of a convenience store in Whitmore Drive, Mile End.

Work started on the new Sainsbury’s Local store, on the Kingswood Heath development, earlier this year and it’s expected to open before the end of the year.