Council leader visits the Northern Gateway Sports Park as final touches are made

Their visit was to see first-hand how the new £28.8 million Sports Park will be enjoyed by residents and visitors once lockdown ends. The brand new Sports Park is scheduled to open on 26 April 2021, should Government guidelines allow.

Final decorations and signage are being installed before it opens. Many will have seen the Northern Gateway Sports Park under construction just off of junction 28 of the A12 – residents will soon get the chance to visit and enjoy the finished site.

Cllr Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park is a truly remarkable facility for the borough.

“The one-mile cycle track will offer a range of experiences for both adults and children, whether they want a safe space to ride or a track to challenge themselves and improve. Adaptive bikes will be available to hire to enable cycling for all and Learn to Ride programs will be available so children can learn how to ride their bicycle safely.

“Alongside the cycle track there is a pump track for children, 3G pitches, grass rugby pitches, a multi-use sports centre (Leisure World Northern Gateway), indoor cricket, badminton, futsal, Activa gym, exercise and dance studios, an interaction Velo studio, and so much more.

“With acres of open green spaces, with further extensive planting planned, and craft coffee and treats at Paddy & Scott’s, there is something for everyone at the Northern Gateway Sports Park.

“I am incredibly excited to see families enjoying Colchester’s newest tourism attraction and I look forward to seeing how the Sports Park grows in the future.”

Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “Everyone in the borough should be proud of the new facilities at the Northern Gateway Sports Park. I enjoyed having a go on the cycle track myself and look forward to seeing families and people of all abilities racing along the track soon. There are so many sports available here to have a go at; the sports hall is looking amazing, with state of the art gym, cycling and fitness studios included too.

“Last week we announced that the Women’s Tour will arrive in Colchester in 2021, this will see almost 100 of the world’s elite female cyclists racing through the Sports Park. In the future the cycle track will continue to be visited by some of the best cyclists for personal training and used for events. As a keen cyclist myself, this is incredibly exciting.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the build of the Sports Park. From my visit it is obvious that a lot of love and passion has gone into the facility.”

When the Northern Gateway Sports Park opens on 26 April it will be at a reduced capacity due to Government guidelines. Residents and visitors will be able to begin a membership, explore the site, breath in the open 76 acres of green and open spaces and enjoy a take-away coffee at Paddy & Scott’s.

The £28.8 million development is part of a wider sport and leisure development, all being project managed by Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd. It has been supported by funding from groups including British Cycling, Sport England, and from England and Wales Cricket Board.

Anyone interested in finding out more about hiring the new sport facilities, which will be managed by the council, can complete an expression of interest form by visiting

Colchester and Clacton to host penultimate stage of the Women’s Tour

The announcement by SweetSpot Group, the award-winning company behind the Women’s Tour, was made on the 8th of March to coincide with International Women’s Day which calls on everyone to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.

Northern Gateway Sports Park Penultimate Stage

Stage five will mark the first time that Colchester welcomes the Women’s Tour, which forms a part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour series, although the town’s notable links to cycling include hosting a Tour of Britain stage finish (2010) and four rounds of the Tour Series.

The stage will proudly showcase Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park, the new, 76-acre, multi-use venue that includes a one-mile, closed-road cycling circuit. In a two-year agreement with race organisers SweetSpot, Colchester will also host the start of Grand Départ of next year’s race in June 2022.

Colchester Borough Council in partnership with Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd, it’s wholly-owned commercial company, will work alongside SweetSpot to host and promote the Colchester event and ensure residents and businesses in the borough can support and be part of the occasion.

Meanwhile, this stage represents the third finish in Clacton since the race’s inaugural 2014 edition. Marianne Vos, the Women’s Tour first-ever champion, won along the seaside resort’s promenade seven years ago, before Belgian Jolien D’hoore triumphed there in 2015. The latter stage generated a net economic impact of over £1.3m for the local economy.

The full route of this stage, including SKODA Queen of the Mountains and sprints locations, will be revealed in due course.

Cllr Theresa Higgins, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “As a keen cyclist I am delighted with our success in attracting such a high-profile, global event to Colchester. As well as giving the town a huge commercial boost, it will no doubt inspire people of every age and ability to get on their bikes and enjoy the cycle lanes and open spaces in and around our borough.

Cllr David King, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “The economic recovery of the borough is our priority, and so we welcome the good news that Colchester is to host a leg of the prestigious Women’s Tour. This spectacular event will attract many visitors to Colchester to watch the elite riders race through the town and will showcase our outstanding new cycling facilities at the Northern Gateway Sports Park – not least the fully floodlit one-mile cycle track, pump track and learn to ride facility.

Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director, added: “Colchester and Clacton both have a long history with SweetSpot’s events, so we’re delighted to be visiting them again on the penultimate day of this year’s Women’s Tour.

“Clacton and Tendring District Council’s continued support of the Women’s Tour should not be underestimated. They backed the inaugural edition of the race in 2014 and have continued to show their desire to push for gender equality in sport ever since.

“The previous two stages may have culminated with hard-fought bunch sprints but if the wind blows in from the sea who knows what could happen!

“I’m also delighted to welcome Colchester on board as our Grand Départ start host for 2022, which, together with the opening of the stunning new Northern Gateway Sports Park, really emphasises the town’s commitment to promoting healthy living and sustainable transport initiatives.

Danielle Every, British Cycling’s cycling delivery director, said: “The Women’s Tour continues to go from strength to strength, with a debut stage for Colchester and a return to Clacton both highlighting the stature in which the race is held on the women’s international road calendar.

“The growth of the event plays a crucial role in our ongoing ambition to get more women and girls on bikes, and we’re sure that the riders on show later this year will help to inspire more girls to get in the saddle in Essex and beyond and maybe even get out on a local club or group ride or have a go at a competitive or challenge event.

“British Cycling remain concerned about the gender imbalances within cycling and are committed to do all we can to help promote women’s cycling and support female cyclists, coaches and volunteers whatever their aspirations across all disciplines.

The Women’s Tour, which forms a part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour, will start in Oxfordshire at Bicester and finish with a stage from Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk.

SweetSpot will announce full details of the penultimate stage and the 2021 route in the summer once alternative dates of Monday 4 to Saturday 9 October* are confirmed.

Views sought on walking, cycling and horse-riding access

SYSTRA, acting as traffic consultants for the council, is now carrying out a Walking, Cycling and Horse-riding Assessment Review (WCHAR) as part of this process.  The review will ensure that proposals fully accord with highways guidance.

The proposals being considered lie to the south of Junction 28 of the A12 within the vicinity of Axial Way and Mill Road. They include the signalisation of the following existing junctions:

  • A12 northbound exit slip road/Cuckoo Farm Way
  • A12 Southbound exit slip road/Cuckoo Farm Way
  • Cuckoo Farm Way/Axial Way/Via Urbis Romanae/United Way
  • Axial Way (Beadles Volkswagen Colchester)
  • Axial Way (Northern Gateway South)

Proposals also include the addition of a new “T” junction with a ghost island right turn at:

  • Axial Way/Plot 11 CNG Residential Development

As the above works are likely to have an impact on existing pedestrian and cyclist movements the following associated improvements will also be made:

  • Widening of existing foot way provision where necessary to provide shared facilities
  • Provision of TOUCAN crossing points on all pedestrian routes through signalised junctions on the Via Urbis Romanae/Cuckoo Farm Way
  • Improvements to existing crossing facilities along Axial Way to facilitate cycling

Colchester Borough Council is now inviting those who walk, cycle or ride in the area, or have an interest in these routes, to take part in a consultation to help gather local views.

Please note that this consultation relates only to the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders and is not a forum to raise comments concerning the merits of the development.

The following PDF plans can be downloaded for your review:

Those wishing to comment on the plans can email Emma Howell, Assistant Consultant, Systra Ltd at

The consultation will run until 12 March 2021.