THE Northern Gateway development has been the much-anticipated addition to Colchester’s leisure scene, but progress has not gone as smoothly as many have hoped.

The date for the grand opening had been this autumn, but with developers Turnstone Estates announcing it will not open until next summer, those who had eagerly anticipated a shiny new leisure complex are now having to hold on a little bit longer.

“Out of sync”

Turnstone Estates’ managing director Chris Goldsmith said last month that because of the scale of the development, small delays can have a ripple effect on the entire project.

He said: “[The project] involves a highly coordinated build programme where the slightest delay can have serious knock-on effects.

Gazette: Heavy duty – the major construction project is ongoingHeavy duty – the major construction project is ongoing (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

“Unfortunately, that has been the case, but I know the further wait will be well worth it.”

So, what has opened, when are the next facilities going to open, and which parts of the development will still be being built long into 2024?


The fast-food chain has been ahead of the game here, and was the first to open as the cash registers were switched on for the first time in July.

Although there was consternation among some customers because the retailer refused to take cash, the general reception was positive, with our reporter Millie Emmett providing a review in the days after Wendy’s opened.


The fast-food store famed for its sausage rolls has also been quick off the mark, and is going to be the second outlet to welcome customers when it opens in December.

The chain had previously said it was opening this weekend. 

Gazette: Striking – the new Travelodge will be one of the most visible buildings on the siteStriking – the new Travelodge will be one of the most visible buildings on the site (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

It will be the sixth branch of Greggs to open in the city of Colchester.


The discount hotel chain certainly has one of the development’s more striking buildings, and the structure is taking shape, but as with many of the other facilities, it is behind schedule.

Travelodge had hoped to be one of the first businesses to open, with a target date initially set for July.

Currently, there are hopes for Travelodge to open by Christmas at the earliest.


On an international scale, the Cinema giant is struggling, but despite this, there are still plans for Cineworld to open a 12-screen complex.

Should a worst-case scenario be avoided, it is hoped Cineworld will open as part of the Northern Gateway development next summer, by which time it is hoped everything will be up and running.

The unknowns

Other businesses have not been able to put an exact date as to when they will open, even if they are expected to form a major part development.

Gazette: Work to do – the Northern Gateway had been expected to open this autumnWork to do – the Northern Gateway had been expected to open this autumn (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

Hollywood Bowl bowling alley, Puttstars indoor golf centre, Jump Street climbing centre, and Kervan Kitchen will all join Wendy’s and Greggs when the Northern Gateway complex is ready next summer.

Until then, however, it is very much a case of hoping there are no further problems which could delay the retail park's opening even further.