A HUGE cash injection worth £35million is ready to be pumped into major projects in south Essex - including the huge Queensway housing scheme and a project turning empty shops into homes.

The ambitious Queensway regeneration will receive a £4.2million handout from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership while a project to turn derelict shops and buildings into flats, has been handed £1.2million.

The funding has been dished out to areas to help boost the economy to battle back from Covid-19.

Other projects which will receive the crucial funding include a new modular housing factory in Basildon, creating 120 jobs, which has been awarded £4.5million.

Bosses at the enterprise partnership say they are doing “all they can” to help Essex businesses as they prepare for the impact of Covid-19.

The Queensway project will deliver up to 1,800 new homes, of which around 600 are hoped to be affordable, and Tony Cox, leader of Southend’s Conservatives, welcomed the funding boost.

He said: “Any money that will go towards housing is a positive, but it has to go towards the homes.

“We don’t know where it will be used yet. We have consistently supported the homes but we won’t support the closure of the underpass.”

As part of Southend Council’s plans for Queensway, four high-rise tower blocks - Malvern, Chiltern, Quantock, and Pennine - all in the centre of Southend, will be demolished.

Hundreds of new homes will be built across buildings that range from three to 18 storeys and every property will have private outside space with a garden, a terrace or a balcony.

But fears have been raised over the amount of pollution produced during the construction of the project.

An environmental impact assessment said there would be a “high risk” of potential exposure to increased pollution levels during demolition. Traffic will also have to be diverted during the building phase.

Council bosses insist the risk will be “managed.”

Christian Brodie, chairman of the enterprise partnership, said: “Our partners have worked hard to get this funding into the economy, where it is urgently needed.

“We are working in line with central Government’s Build Back Better initiative and are confident that these projects will deliver jobs, housing and the best support for businesses.”