DEVELOPERS have been accused of breaking a promise to shopkeepers being evicted from Laindon Shopping Centre.

Tae Thompson, manager of Fish ‘n’ Chick’n, claims he was promised a new unit but now it has been downgraded to a discussion.

He said: “We were under the impression, as were the hairdressers, that we would have new shops to move into.

“We were told the doctors will be built, then our area would be knocked down and we would go into a new unit as soon as possible.

“Now they are going back on their promises.”

June Edhouse, 60, who has worked at the chip shop for almost 30 years, added: “The people who live in this area deserve a centre they can come to when they are in their 70s and 80s.

“I use this centre a lot outside of work too. I do not drive, so what am I going to do when I retire in a few years?”

Swan Housing Association has moved forward its plans for the £50million Laindon Place development, which is due to include a health centre, 86 houses, 138 flats and a shopping parade.

Eviction notices have been served on the remaining shops.

While some thought they would be welcomed into new guaranteed units, the housing association claims discussions will need to take place.

A spokesperson said: “Now these notices have been served, we are able to focus on discussing terms with those tenants who wish to return.

“We are delighted we have had so much interest from existing and potential new tenants as this will help us deliver the high-quality retail-led regeneration people asked for.

“We’ve really appreciated the support that tenants such as Fish ‘n’ Chick’n have provided, including switching on our Christmas lights, and we look forward to discussing their wish to return.”