DEVELOPMENT of Southend Airport could produce a wealth of previously unknown archaeological finds, according to Essex county councillor for the environment John Jowers.

St Laurence Church and the post medieval brickworks and houses in Cherry Orchard Lane had already been identified as requiring major study.

Bosses also think there are valuable finds on the airport site itself linked to its roles in both world wars. Mr Jowers said despite modern development, the area retained significant archaeological and historical significance.

He added “There are further finds, particularly on the west of the site which indicate prehistoric activity, evidence of which is likely to survive.”

Mr Jowers said it was important the cultural heritage of the site was taken into account at an early stage so proper investigation and management of the area could be carried out. Meanwhile, Mr Jowers also said there was an opportunity for the airport to have routes to and from the continent in time for the Olympics in 2012.

There are also plans to offer cycling or sailing breaks from Holland, Belgium and France.

“It’s important Southend and the airline carriers are geared up to be able to handle sports equipment which may come with these tourists in a customer friendly way,” he added.

Mr Jowers said there were concerns which would have to be addressed about the environment and infrastructure around the airport. As to the proposed road changes around Eastwoodbury Lane, he went on: “The county council has, as highways authority, to be satisfied the proposals could be accommodated without having a detrimental effect on the existing situation.”