A NEW retail park in Maldon is now officially open.

Blackwater Retail Park in Fullbridge had its opening ceremony on Monday.

Dignitaries attending the event included district council leader Adrian Fluker, town mayor Jeanette Stilts, Aquila chairman Tony Chambers and district council chairman Henry Bass, who cut the ribbon.

Mr Bass said: “I would like to pay tribute to the very many people who have been involved in the construction of what we now see today.

“It really is very impressive and I believe the new shops have already been very busy since they opened a few weeks ago.

“This new retail park has already made a significant contribution to the regeneration of this area, bringing more choice and employment.

“It will also attract a whole new customer, who I hope will take some time to explore more of what Maldon’s high street has to offer as well.”

Mr Chambers added: “We were convinced a convenience shopping facility was needed in the heart of Maldon and Heybridge to enhance and bolster its retail offering but also halt migration to Chelmsford and Colchester shopping centres.”

“As you see, the park is a huge success. If you have passed by here in the last two weeks, you will have witnessed the queues to enter the car park.”

The retail park has created 200 new jobs.

The next phase is a 60-bed Travelodge which will open next autumn, creating 20 more jobs.