A BUDGET supermarket is set to open this autumn – bringing scores of jobs to Benfleet.
Bargain store Aldi will open at Tarpots on Thursday, October 23.
Aldi hopes to create 40 jobs, 10 more than previously expected, by transforming the former Focus DIY site.
A spokesperson for Aldi said: “The new store is part of our expansion strategy to help meet Aldi’s growing customer demand across the UK.
“We will be looking to recruit up to 40 new staff from the local area.
Further details about the recruitment process will be shared in the local press and at the site of the new store.
“Aldi is looking forward to bringing customers in the area brand-like quality products at everyday low prices.”
Castle Point councillors rubberstamped plans for the 1.32 acre site in April and hope the superstore will boost trade in the Tarpots area.
The development will include a 104- space car park with 90 minutes free parking for those visiting the town, including non-Aldi customers.
A plan to reintroduce a right-hand turn off the A13 into Rushbottom Lane has also been approved by Essex County Council.
St Peter’s ward councillor Bill Dick said: “I think it’s good, because to me the people have not got a lot of choice unless they go to Rayleigh Weir or Pitsea. There is a Co-op and a small Tesco, but it will help the people and bring the footfall in the area it needs.
The other shops may benefit as Aldi does not sell everything.
“When you look at the reception Aldi got in Pitsea, they were queuing up at 2am to get a bargain, it’s amazing.
They are good value and I think it will be a great asset to the people in Tarpots.”
Council leader Colin Riley added: “This is very good progress. We were very disappointed when Focus closed.
This supermarket is needed. It is the way people shop. It’s good for the borough and the people. Any employment in the borough is brilliant.”
The store applied to Castle Point Council for a premises licence last week.
ALDI’S new car park will be open to non-supermarket customers.
Alan Bayley, Appleton ward councillor, said: “The car park at the moment is difficult to get in and out of, but the new car park should not be a problem and I think other shopkeepers will feel that.”
The site in Rushbottom Lane has stood empty since June 2011.
Focus DIY closed its doors after the nationwide firm went into administration, resulting in 23 job losses at the Benfleet branch.
By January 2013, hopes for Aldi to take over the site were fading amid rumours it was focusing on a neighbouring branch as part of a £30million regeneration of Pitsea.
Castle Point Council then rented the car park to provide free parking to shoppers, but was given seven days to vacate in September 2013 as the Aldi deal reached its final stages.
Councillors finally approved plans for the bargain chain in March this year.