MALDON’S new retail park is a “unique opportunity” for the town that will benefit not only residents, but also other businesses, according to one of the men behind the development.

John Parling, a consultant for developers Aquila, believes that Blackwater Retail Park will prove a huge hit with the town.

After more than ten years of set backs and delays, work has begun on the new site, expected to be completed by August 2018, and now Maldon will be able to enjoy the benefits, says Mr Parling.

He said: “The effort to actively get a development off the ground is probably more significant than most people realise.

“You have to bring all the different pieces of the jigsaw together at the right time.

“After quite a long slog we are approaching the end and in nine months’ time, hopefully the site will be much like what was envisaged a few years ago.

“It is going to be a huge benefit to Maldon residents and Maldon businesses. It is a unique opportunity for the town.”

Mr Parling said that the new retail park, which will include an Aldi, Next, Home Bargains, Costa Coffee and Sports Direct, will save people travelling as far afield as Colchester and Chelmsford.

Meanwhile, he argues the extra shoppers coming into the town to visit the development will increase footfall for businesses already in the town.

He added: “A lot of retailers won’t go on the High Street nowadays, they like being in an area such as this with specific parking. We are very confident that the remaining units will be filled.

“This is going to be bringing new, different businesses to Maldon that will attract a lot more people to the town.”