A NEW £70million leisure and retail complex rivalling Braintree’s Freeport facilities will be built less than 15 miles away.

Bosses at the town’s giant complex have refused to comment on the potential impact of a super centre in Stanway near Colchester.

The Tollgate Partnership had its bid for the development turned down twice by Colchester Council.

But the Secretary of State has reversed the decision after an appeal - meaning the plans, including a multiplex cinema, restaurant complex and retail space, will go ahead.

In his report, the secretary of state said the development would add nearly £17million to the economy.

Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts of Tollgate Partnership Limited said: “We are delighted and relieved that, after many years of hard work, we can bring Tollgate Village to Colchester.

Despite the obvious similarities between the new retail development and what is on offer at Braintree Freeport, shopping centre bosses declined to comment on the proposals claiming it would be inappropriate.

Bosses of Braintree Retail Park, who run the cinema, shop and restaurant complex in Charter Way, also declined to comment.

Witham MP Priti Patel, whose constituency includes the Tollgate development, has been a long term supporter of the proposals. She said: “This is fantastic news for Stanway and this part of Essex.

“Hundreds of new jobs are now set to be created and we will get to benefit from new facilities and investment.”

The MP also criticised Colchester Council for its handling of the process.

Ms Patel said: “It is time for the council’s leadership to take responsibility for the costs to taxpayers and the loss of investment their failures have caused.”