THE £50million plan to transform Canvey town centre has moved a step closer after a developer was appointed for the project.

Aquila House Holdings will help revive run-down shops, create tree-lined public pathways, ensure better links between the town centre and Canvey Lake, more youth facilities, and the introduction of two-way traffic and on-street parking in the town.

The firm, which has links to Canvey, specialise in creating retail developments and is behind the building of a 300,000sq ft shopping centre in Chelmsford that will be anchored by John Lewis.

Castle Point Council leader and chairman of the Castle Point Regeneration Partnership Pam Challis said: “We have had a lot of interest from developers prepared to invest in Canvey town centre, even in the current difficult economic conditions.

“I am delighted that a quality company such as Aquila are prepared to work with us to bring forward a £50million scheme that will transform Canvey town centre, making it a first class destination for both residents and visitors.”

The project has been led by the Castle Point Regeneration Partnership and after two years of consultation, council meetings and talks with traders, the council gave the ambitious Canvey masterplan the go ahead in April last year.