A COVID-proof drive-thru Costa Coffee has been given the go ahead to be built at a £150m retail park.

The chain will be built at the Southend Airport Business Park, off Cherry Orchard Way, in Rochford.

Top councillors say it shows how big chains such as Costa are showing faith in Southend ahead of the economy bouncing back after the Covid pandemic.

Southend Council also says the development shows the progress of the business park will not be halted and will bring the town many benefits including new jobs.

Kevin Robinson, Labour councillor for business, tourism and culture, said: “Lots of firms are interested in the business park and we needed to have food and drink outlets so were trying to attract the likes of Costa Coffee.

“The business park project is going ahead well and because of the location it’s not being too disrupted.

“It will create jobs for our borough residents which is also good for the area and economy.

“I do think both retail and aviation industries can recover from the Covid pandemic.

“While I accept the situation with the airport, I think the business park development is going really well and firms are keen to open there.

“People are interested in the park and I am looking forward to Costa opening there.”

The latest phase will have 12 new high-end industrial units ready for businesses to move into from 2022, as part of the 52-acre site.

Building is due to start on the units ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 sq ft in about four months.

Thousands of new jobs are expected to be created as more business are attracted to the site.

It will include cafes, restaurants, meeting and leisure facilities and even a hotel.

Mr Robinson added: “I think the business park will survive and it also looks like air travel will recover too.

“People will still have an appetite for flying, travelling and shopping.

“After what’s been going on people will want a decent holiday.

“I cannot recall another drive-thru coffee shop like this in our areas and it’ll work with a Covid safe world.”

Costa Coffee was contacted for comment on the development but did not respond.