Controversial Essex tourism adverts not funded by council tax

Carriages in front of the Audley End estate, a major Essex tourist attraction

Carriages in front of the Audley End estate, a major Essex tourist attraction - Credit: Celia Bartlett Photography

A soon-to-be-aired TV advert which aims to rid Essex of its TOWIE image will be not be funded by council tax payers, the county council has said.

Essex County Council said that its advert, which will appear on Sky TV in March, does not aim to criticise the hit TV show The Only Way is Essex.

Councillor Mark Durham claimed at a meeting on February 10 that the £300,000 advert will highlight the diversity in Essex's countryside and coastal attractions.

It will be paid for by Visit Essex membership fees and central government grants.

Amy Childs, the TOWIE star who helped popularise the vajazzle, has criticised the planned advert.

Speaking to The Sun, Amy urged ECC to spend £300,000 on "something that really matters".

But Cllr Durham said that over 30,000 Essex hospitality jobs were lost in 2020.

He added: "This reason alone easily justifies any investment that may help Essex businesses bounce back this year."