A NEW £1.5million marina is set to change the face of the tiny village of Roydon.

Sited on the 32-acre lake at the Roydon Mill Estate, behind Roydon Railway Station in the High Street, it would have moorings for 315 narrow and leisure boats, as well as a new lock which would give access to the River Stort.

Developers say it will help rejuvenate the rural village and bring a boost to businesses in the area, while Roydon Mill Estate executive director David Brannen said the project is backed by British Waterways, which has identified the area has having a shortage of about 600 moorings.

He added: “The parish council support it because it will bring so many people to the area and that will be a boost for local shops, pubs and other businesses.

“And it is close to the station so there will be a low carbon footprint. There were some concerns from residents about the location of the car park so we have agreed to move it away from the homes to the other side of the lake, near the train tracks.

“We have used local labour for the construction, and that’s important because we want the community to be as involved as possible with what we are doing.

A multi-million pound redevelopment is currently under way to turn the Roydon Mill Estate, a former caravan site, into a holiday resort with luxury log cabins, a restaurant and an entertainment complex.

A planning application for the marina has been submitted to Epping Forest District Council and a public consultation is being carried out before it goes before the council’s planning committee early next year.

If approved, the marina – complete with a workshop, fuel storage facilities, a lock, and 77 parking spaces – should be fully operation by early 2010.

Mr Brannen said: “When we came here two years ago the area was in decline because it had a problem with gypsies, but we have slowly phased that out and already made great strides in rejuvenating the site.

“We have a vision to create an idyllic holiday setting, and the marina would be the centre piece of the resort.”

Janet Ballard, clerk at Roydon Parish Council, said the community supports the project on condition that the issues around the location of the parking spaces are addressed.

She added: “We can see that this will help boost local businesses and help rejuvenate the area, so we will be telling the district council that we support the project in principle.”