BUDGET store Primark is set to take over the former BHS store in Southend.

The retailer has already applied to alter a service bay to the back of the High Street store.

The company has not revealed whether or not it will retain its existing branch in nearby Royals shopping centre.

The store, which occupies a prominent corner plot, has been empty since BHS went into administration last summer. It was occupied by squatters for three weeks before being boarded up.

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, welcomed the news the building would once more be put to good use.

She said: “The Primark in the Royals always seems to be busy. It’s got a niche of its own, with people from all walks of life shopping there.

“I think it will be good to have Primark in the High Street as it’s very central and will have a lot more passing trade.”

Ms Holland added: “It’s a prime building so I’m glad to see that it will be occupied.”

Primark has applied to council planners to demolish the current service bay and replace it with smaller one which it anticipates will take more deliveries per day than the ailing BHS did.

The company estimates there will be up the three 12-metre, 26 tonne lorries a day between 6am to 6pm Monday to Sunday.

News that the town could have perhaps two Primark stores pleased some shoppers.

Mum-of-two Karen Foster, 26, who lives in Southend said: “I think the store is so popular because it is such good value.

“The reason I think is because they do basic, good value clothes that are really good if you’re going on holiday and just want a few bits for lazing around in.

“The clothes aren’t top of the range but they do the job and last a reasonable amount of time. It’s good if you have kids. To be honest I think they could even get away with having two stores in Southend.”

Tom Keene, 62, who lives Westcliff, added: “Primark’s pretty good but I would have like to have seen something different there.

“We get the same old chains every time. It would have been nice to have something a bit more upmarket I suppose but they must be doing something right if they are ready to open a bigger store in Southend. It’s good that the building is going to be occupied again.”

The Royals shopping centre was asked for a comment but did not respond.

Primark was also unable to give the Echo further information at the time of going to press but has since said no final decision on occupying the site has been made.