The transformation of Grays has taken another step forward as the initial design concept for a new pedestrian walkway was approved.

Thurrock Council and Network Rail will now be able to explore how the concept can be designed in more detail to achieve a bright, open and fully accessible area.

It will link the river front and high street and provide a green space in the heart of the community for everyone to enjoy – miles away from the traditional idea of an underpass.

Mark Coxshall, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is an important step for the whole regeneration of Grays which has already attracted £200million in investment including £11million funding for the pedestrian walkway through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

“The existing level crossing is one of the two most dangerous crossings in the region and a new footbridge is not a viable option.

“The approved concept has been measured against the best international examples, came out top in our public consultation and will look completely different to what we have previously seen in the borough.

“It will be a safe environment with lots of space, good lighting, clear views, and landscaping, not just a solution to help residents get from A to B but a truly attractive asset linking the River Thames to the very heart of the town.

“We will continue to ensure that any emerging proposals are of maximum benefit to the borough through ongoing consultation.”