Businesses say they are more positive about the future after £1.7 million was secured to make extensive street improvements to a "tired" area.

The road layout around Green Walk and Chigwell Road in Woodford Bridge will be altered to improve traffic flow, with signs and lighting also replaced.

Cycle lanes will also be created in Manor Road under plans announced at an Area 2 Committee meeting on Tuesday.

The public will also be consulted on a proposal to install pay and display machines in Chigwell Road.

Traders in the area are confident the investment will boost the local economy in an area which has struggled during the economic downturn.

Tommy O’Hara, owner of Bridge Flooring in Chigwell Road, is expecting disruption during the works, which are set to be completed this time next year, but is positive about the long-term.

He said: “Once works are done this will definitely help out businesses in the area, it will be worth the disruption. The area will look much better and this will mean more people will be attracted to it.

“The cycle lanes will really improve the flow of traffic in the area and we will benefit from that. The pay and display machines are something we have been trying to get for a long time so the consultation is great news.”

Tracey Carol, manager of Different Shapes hairdressers in Chigwell Road, believes the changes will make the area a more attractive place to visit.

She said: "We have both elderly and young clients who will benefit from this, making it easier to get to and park at our hairdressers. This will make the area much more appealing for our customers and it sounds great."

Conservative Cllr Robin Turbefield admitted the area currently looks “tired”.

He said: "This is excellent news. It is really going to make a tired looking area reach new standards.

"We are all happy we secured the funding and that it is finally happening.

"Most shopkeepers have been contacting me regularly to get something sorted out as it is not looking good, so this will really improve the centre.

"We want Woodford Bridge to become like a village again rather than somewhere you just drive through, and these plans go some way to achieving that."

The work, which is funded by Transport for London, is due to start in May.