WORK has begun on a £14million regeneration scheme in Pitsea.

Building has started at Station Lane in Pitsea, where a major development scheme is being built between the Tesco superstore and Pitsea town centre.

A total of 120 affordable homes, five shops, a cafe, communal space, 126 parking spaces and 109 spaces for bicycles will be created on the derelict land.

Residents and traders previously complained the land was rat-infested and a blot on the landscape.

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball, said: “This is the gateway to the town and I am delighted work has started on what is an excellent scheme.

“This site has been an eyesore for some time, and this development will reinvigorate the area and help to kick start the regeneration of Pitsea town centre.”

He added despite the recession, the new development showed the Basildon district was still popular with investors.

Plans for the site first emerged in 2008 and planning permission for the site was granted by the council in December last year.

The scheme is being developed by the Genesis Housing Group and Logic Homes and is due to be finished in March 2012.

There will be 39 one-bedroom and 91 two-bedroom flats.

A total of 56 homes will be shared ownership, 25 will be rented out and another 39 will be rented to people over 55.

Mr Ball, South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe, and staff from Genesis Housing and Logic Homes, buried a time capsule at a ceremony to mark the start of works.

Mr Metcalfe said: “I hope this will be the start of other such schemes, and the first of a number of regeneration projects in Pitsea that will see an enhanced town centre for us all.”