Work has begun on a long-awaited retail park in Maldon.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the new Blackwater Retail Park, in The Causeway, Maldon, today.

The site will be home to Next, Home Bargains, Costa Coffee, Aldi and Sports Direct, with three other units still available to rent. 

It is also hoped the final development will include a hotel. 

Tony Chambers, chairman of Aquila, the company behind the development, was joined by members of Maldon District Council for the event.

It has been a long road for the development which has hit many stumbling points since Aquila first applied for planning permission in 2015, but it is hoped the site will be completed in August next year.

Mr Chambers said: "Thank you to everyone for your hard work. Thank you to those from Maldon District Council, not only the members but also the officers, and in particular Miriam Lewis, Fiona Marshall and Penny Channer.

"Thank you all for helping with this development and we hope that we can be here in nine months' time for another celebration.

"It has taken just over ten years to get where we are today, but now we have started we will finish."

Council Chairman, councillor Henry Bass added: "I am delighted to be here today to mark the start of this new and exciting development.

"This marks the start of the regeneration of the Causeway area as set out in the council's Maldon and Heybridge central area masterplan.

"I look forward to seeing this development take shape in the coming months and I wish Aquila well with this project."