MARKS and Spencer is set to open its second Simply Food convenience store in Colchester.

The store will be part of a new BP garage at the former Esso site in Ipswich Road, creating 30 jobs.

An opening date has not yet been confirmed but with work to revamp the site well underway, the BP and Marks and Spencer are expected to open within months.

The Simply Food outlet will offer similar facilities to that of the first of the chain’s outlets in Colchester at Cuckoo Farm, which opened at the same time as junction 28 of the A12 in 2010.

That outlet has proved to be extremely popular with it taking on extra staff in 2014 to keep up with customer demand.

A BP spokesman said: “I can confirm that the site is being transformed into a BP M&S Simply Food store that will create around 30 jobs.

“This is part of our continued investment in the convenience retail sector. We currently have 248 BP M&S stores across the UK, with plans to have 300 by early 2018.”

The Ipswich Road site has proved to be controversial, however.

Plans to sell alcohol from the site from 7am to 11pm led to residents raising concerns surrounding litter and anti-social behaviour.

Residents also highlighted alcohol provision is available at the nearby Tesco superstore in Highwoods.

But BP has pledged to have a CCTV system at the petrol station with cameras faced on the entrance and alcohol stands, maintain an adequate level of staff at all times, and challenge anyone attempting to buy alcohol who looks younger than 25 for proof of age.

Plans for a revamp to the petrol station were agreed by Colchester Council despite a 35-name petition against the upgrades. A new sales building, canopy, fuel pumps and car wash are part of the upgrade. The petrol station has been closed works to take place.

Gerard Oxford, Highwoods ward councillor (Ind), said there were still concerns over traffic accessing the site.

He added: “Obviously jobs are always welcome but it is a tight site. That remains an issue.

“I am not sure, given the layout, how that can be ameliorated to make that any better.”

Oil giant BP has been cashing in on the change in British shopping habits which has seen consumers opt for smaller convenience stores over huge supermarkets.

While the cost of crude oil has collapsed, BP has been able to bank on its deal with M&S to increase profits.

This will tally with a change at M&S, which is planning to shut 60 food and home stores over the next year.