Work has started on a masterplan to boost retail, employment, transport and leisure in Maldon and Heybridge.
Fifty representatives from businesses, voluntary groups and the public sector attended a recent workshop, organised by architects and town planners Allies and Morrison and property consultants GL Hearn.
It is part of Maldon District Council's Local Development Plan.
Anthony Benson, of Allies and Morrison, said: “Maldon and Heybridge’s historic character and waterside setting create unique opportunities, which we are looking forward to exploring.
“Maldon’s historic High Street, the Causeway linking the two historic settlements of Heybridge and Maldon and Hythe Quay and Promenade Park have significant environmental assets and all play a key role in supporting the local economy.”