AN OPTICIANS set to open on Canvey next month could create up to 50 jobs.

Specsavers will take over 20-24 Furtherwick Road after councillors granted planning permission.

The branch is expected to open at the end of September.

A spokeswoman from Specsavers was unable to confirm how many jobs will be created, but other stores employ up to 50 members of staff.

Changes will be made to the building, previously a youth club, cafe, and the island’s main post office, including new automatic doors and signs.

It will feature state-of-the-art testing equipment, a contact lens centre and its own lab.

Dave Blackwell, councillor for Canvey Island Central, said: “I welcome Specsavers to Canvey as it will save me and residents having to go to Rayleigh or Basildon.

“Other opticians on the island are specialists in their own right whereas Specsavers is the supermarket of the opticians.

“They are good value. It’s a big name and others may follow.

Specsavers is a really great addition to the area.”

A Specsavers spokeswoman said: “Specsavers looks forward to serving the eyecare needs of the Canvey community when our new Furtherwick Road store opens in the autumn.”

The branch is expected to begin recruiting in the next few weeks.

The arrival of Specsavers will be the fourth opticians on the island.

Stephen Castle owns Castle Opticians which has five opticians across South Essex, including one in Long Road, Canvey.

He added: “From our perspective we welcome the competition.

It’s great the people on Canvey have choice about where they buy their glasses and eyecare.

It will mean more people on the island will get their eyecare on the island.

“We carry a different range to Specsavers such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Tiffany, but yes we welcome the competition.”