Tollgate Village cinema CGI

Colchester: ‘cliffhanger’ over shopping centre cinema operator

Film fans have been left with a cliffhanger over which cinema operator is to move into the long awaited Tollgate Village leisure and retail complex.

Work on the £70 million complex in Stanway is due to start next year.

But the Tollgate Partnership Limited, which is behind the plans, has not revealed which cinema operator is has lined up.

The Gazette approached major operators Vue, Empire Cinemas, Cineworld and Odeon to see if they were interested in opening a venue at the new Stanway complex.

Vue, Empire and Cineworld ruled themselves out while an Odeon spokesman said: “We will be sure to share any relevant local updates if they emerge.”

A spokesman for the Tollgate Partnership said “nothing has been announced” regarding the operator.

Tollgate Village is set to comprise a leisure area on the south of Tollgate West, including a “multi-level pedestrian plaza” and multi-screen cinema.

There will also be up to nine restaurants and shops, additional leisure operators, and “extensive landscaping”.

The other two development zones which form part of Tollgate Village on the north side of the Tollgate West road, will be made up of upgrading the front of the existing shops at Tollgate Retail Park, new units and facilities on the former Sainsbury’s site, which has been empty for years.

These will be the main shopping areas and will also include a promenade, small plaza and a green pedestrian link to the southern leisure site.

The development has proved controversial since plans were put forward.

They were twice refused by Colchester Council but the scheme eventually got the go-ahead at appeal when the Secretary of State granted outline planning permission two years ago.

The development then faced a High Court challenge from Colchester town centre’s Fenwick, along with Lion Walk Shopping Centre, but that too was rejected in December 2017.

Cineworld has been confirmed as the operator at Colchester Council’s Northern Gateway development, scheduled to open in late 2020.

However, question marks remain over the viability of restaurant units at the site.

The Gazette reported last month there are at least 17 vacant restaurant sites in Colchester, including two at Stane Park, another out-of-town development in Stanway.

Source: Daily Gazette

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