HUNDREDS of new jobs will be created as part of a project to improve and open up the Essex coast.

More than £900,000 has been awarded to Rochford to promote Essex’s coastal path, a project which could create 277 jobs.

Rochford District Council has welcomed the funding boost which should make a significant difference to the area.

A grant of £663,565 has been awarded from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund to Essex County Council, which will support the “Path to Prosperity Project”.

A further £261,331 in cash match funding will be financed by Essex County Council and other project partners.

This initiative aims to raise awareness of the Rochford coastline as a high quality visitor destination, including the RSPB dominated Wallasea Island and the Wild Coast Project which is recognised as the largest landmark conservation and engineering scheme of its type in Europe.

Rochford District Council’s strategic director, Angela Hutchings, said: “We congratulate Essex County Council on their successful bid and are pleased to be supporting them to bring more visitors to our beautiful River Crouch coastline and the RSPB Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, in Rochford, which provides a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife.”

The Path to Prosperity Project is designed to act as a catalyst for economic growth and regeneration, creating 277 jobs while also converting 20 apprenticeship posts to 15 direct jobs.

The funding will also help to target businesses along the coastal path with commercial support.

Ms Hutchings added: “This project will include the highlighting of destinations within the Rochford district to obtain refreshment near the coast, and therefore we look forward to working with Essex County Council to realise this opportunity for our rural businesses and to benefit the economy.

“We will also encourage our eligible businesses to access the customer service training that will be available.”