A popular discount store is set to be the latest big-name addition to a Basildon retail park.
Shoppers and councillors have spoken of their delight as it was revealed discount store TK Maxx is coming to Basildon’s Pipps Hill retail park, off Miles Gray Road.
The national retailer, which also has stores at Lakeside and Southend’s Royals Shopping Centre, will be the borough’s only TKMaxx store, providing a much-needed shot in the arm to Basildon’s economy.
Chris Spencer, 65, of Billericay, said: “It will be nice to have this on our doorstep.
“I think the retail park really needs a good clothes shop, so this will be a great addition to the area. It will certainly make me want to shop there.”
The store, which specialises in discount clothes, shoes and household wares, used to have a premises in Basildon’s Eastgate Centre, which closed in 2008, with the firm claiming the unit was too small.
Workers are fitting out the new base, which will stock on average about 50,000 items each day, and the chain has submitted a planning application to erect huge signs outside.
The size of three football pitches, it will fill the empty unit left by PC World and Currys, which moved into a bigger unit left empty when Comet closed in 2012.
Bill Archibald, Labour councillor for Fryerns, whose seat is up for re-election later this month, said: “From a commercial point of view, it is good for Basildon’s economy that we have a big name coming to the borough, whether it is in the town centre or out of town.
“TK Maxx seems a respectable value-for-money outlet.”
Basildon Council’s Tory leader Tony Ball, admitted he would have preferred to see the chain open in the heart of Basildon, but said it was still positive for the borough.
He said: “We welcome people choosing Basildon for business and this will also bring jobs to the area.
“It shows our two retail parks in Mayflower and Pipps Hill are strong.”
Malcolm Buckley, councillor responsible for regeneration, added: “The firmhad previously been in Basildon so this shows the confidence it has in the borough’s economy to want to come back.”
It is not all good news for the retail park, however.
Home furnishings shop Paul Simon, which has a store in Pipps Hill, has gone into administration, putting 14 jobs at risk.
Banners outside the store claim it is closing down.
However, a member of staff told the Echo no closing date had been given to them.
Administrators have said they are hopeful of finding another buyer to preserve the store.
Town centre 'should not be worried'
A RETAIL expert has said Basildon should be welcoming TK Maxx opening outside the heart of the town centre.
Fears have been raised the national retailer is another example of stores choosing to open away from town centres.
In 2012, Basildon Council rubber- stamped a £1billion town centre masterplan to reinvigorate the ailing shops in the heart of the borough, with TK Maxx the calibre of tenant they were hoping to lure.
Hans Wustefeld, who is the manager of Basildon Town Centre Management, which operates the town’s market and promotes the High Street, said he was not too worried by TK Maxx’s choice.
He said: “I don’t think it is anything to be worried about.
“The town has been competing well with retail parks and out of town developments.”
Clothes superstore expansion is Next on the agenda
BUSINESS is booming at Basildon’s two major retail parks, with a big addition set arrive in one of them.
Fashion outlet Next is to double in size at the Mayflower Retail Park, off the A127, and the new store is opening later this month.
Next, which already has a store on the retail park, is moving into the former Currys unit, which is a bigger space, giving it room to provide a cafe plus an improved home furnishings section.
The move will create an extra 50 jobs.
Malcolm Buckley, Basildon councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “Our retail parks are doing very well.
“However, the more retail parks we have, the bigger the challenge in keeping town centres alive.
“Keeping alive our town centre has been a key priority for this administration and I think despite the many challenges, especially in Laindon, we have done well compared to some councils.”