MP Priti Patel has called on the Government's planning boss to approve the Tollgate Village planning appeal.

The plans were controversially refused by Colchester Council's planning committee in February and an appeal hearing is set to take place in January.

A final decision on the plans will be taken by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

If approved, the development could create hundreds of jobs.

Ms Patel, whose Witham constituency takes in Stanway, said: "Tollgate Village offers fantastic new facilities and employment opportunities for Stanway and is widely supported.

"The Secretary of Stateโ€™s intervention is welcome and I have written to urge him to approve the application as soon as possible and overturn the appalling decision."

She added: "As well as ignoring the needs of residents in Stanway, the council put its own vested financial interests in the Northern Gateway site first and misinterpreted planning policies when reaching their decision.

"We have all been let down by the council and they should hang their head in shame as their poor decision making means we continue to miss out on the economic benefits of Tollgate Village."

Colchester Council has stated any development in the Northern Gateway will not take away from the town centre as there will be no retail and will predominantly be a leisure development.