THE creation of 500 new jobs in Basildon has moved a step closer after plans to build a major new distribution centre were given the go a-head.

Now Roxhill Developments, a nationwide industrial and commercial developer, is looking for major firms to come in and run the warehouse storage centre on the site of the former First Data officers in Christopher Martin Road, Basildon.

The firm is hoping to attract major businesses, such as supermarkets or large national chains, to use the premises as a regional distribution depot.

The 8.4 acre site - which has been given outline planning permission - could house warehouses up to 17,652 in size.

Tony White, from planning agent Michael Sparks Associates, representing Roxhill, said: “This is the first step in the progressive regeneration of the site before it can be developed with a high quality business development.”

He said securing the permission meant the site could be actively marketed to large businesses who want to invest in the borough.

Mr White added: “We are looking forward to working closely with the council to bring a high-quality employment opportunity at the site which will bring forward employment opportunities to the borough.”

The move was welcomed by council leader Tony Ball who said the creation of new jobs would be a boost to the town’s economy.

He said: “I’m pleased a company feels that it is worth the risk to pay for the planning permission to invest in the site to get another big company in there.

“It shows that people have confidence in Basildon and the economy here.

“I think we, as an administration, have made it clear that we welcome businesses here and we do what we can to create opportunities for residents to access employment.”

First Data House was demolished in June after the firm moved to nearby Endeavour Drive.