LONG-awaited works to tidy up Canvey Lake are set to get underway in the New Year.

£53,000 of funding for the first phase of a two-pronged programme has been secured to improve the state of the lake in Denham Road, Canvey.

The work, which will include reinforcing areas of bank erosion, bank restoration, installing fishing pegs and a bird feeding station, reed cutting works and the creation of a two-metre channel to create a definition between the bank edge and water.

Ray Howard, district and county councillor for Canvey, said: “As one of the team that’s worked hard from its inception, I think at long last the public will see we mean business to bring the lake up to a very high standard.

“It’s a wonderful amenity and we apologise for the delay, but it’s not been our fault.

“There’s been a problem from A to Z every time we have gone to do something and it’s taken longer than we thought, but it’s all working out well now.”

The first phase is expected to start on January 7, weather permitting, and will continue for six weeks.

The rest of the work will start later on in 2013.

Veolia Pitsea Marshes Trust has given £38,000 of funding to the project and £15,000 has been allocated by Essex County Council’s Big Society fund.

More cash will be applied for to pay for the completion of phase two.

Geraldine Vallis, community and events officer at Canvey Town Council, explained while the work is being carried out the Denham Road car park will be closed to the public.

She said: “Unfortunately the car park will be closed during this period of work to enable the contractor to use this for their welfare unit and various parts of the lake area will be cordoned off by the contractor for health and safety reasons.

“There will be a need for vehicle movement from various entrance points to the lake, but this will be done with as little disruption to residents as possible.

“The contractor will be on site from 8am, but no work will commence until after 8.30am and it will finish by 6pm.”

The town council is also reviewing ongoing maintenance requirements for the lake and is in talks with the Environment Agency to put together a management plan and reed cutting programme.

Plans to push ahead with an £800,000 refurbishment of the lake stalled in March, after protected water voles were found on the site, which legally cannot be disturbed.

For more information about the works, call Canvey Town Council’s clerk on 01268 683965 or e-mail clerk@canveyisland-tc.gov.uk