ESSEX University is set to lead north Essex out of recession and make the area a major employment base.

An agreement has been reached between the university and local councils, which sets out how the institution’s strengths can be promoted in Colchester and Tendring.

To make the most of the Knowledge Gateway, the university’s 42-acre business research and development park, the agreement outlines plans to create a link road between it and the A120, as well as building a new railway station between Hythe and Wivenhoe.

Steve Clarke, Essex University’s Knowledge Gateway consultant, said: “This is about making sure there is a clear understanding of the partners around the impact the university can bring in terms of economic development.

“And one way to look at that is making sure the Knowledge Gateway is as accessible as possible.

“We are already a major employer and £200million is spent in Colchester because of the university and we are a major driver in our own right.”

Funding for the ambitious project, which is also backed by Essex County Council, could be secured through government agency the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Matched funding from businesses would also be sought.