A HUGE new charity shop is opening in the former Robins Cinema in Basildon town centre.

Plans to build a 125-bed hotel on the North Gunnells site were shelved in June last year because the developer pulled out due to the economic slump.

The cinema, closed in 1995, has been turned into four flats and two shops.

A British Heart Foundation charity shop, specialising in furniture and electrical goods, will take up half the ground floor measuring 4,700 square feet. It is not known what the second shop will be.

Carol Pyne, manager of the foundation’s shop in Southernhay, Basildon welcomed the news of the new store.

She said: “I am really pleased about the news, I have lived in Basildon all my life and its great news that something is going into the old cinema.

“I used to go there all the time and it has been derelict for a long time. It’s good for the town to have something in the unit.

“We get so many calls saying can we take on furniture and we do not have the space in this store. This new store is going to be so busy. I think the new shop is what we need in Basildon because furniture and electrical goods are so expensive.”

Steve Horgan, Tory cabinet member for regeneration added: “I welcome the news the old cinema is going to be filled.

“But to be perfectly blunt this is just another charity shop and if Basildon centre is going to recover we need what I call mainstream retailers to come into the high street.”

The new shop is set to open on November 1. If you would like to volunteer at the store or donate any goods call 0844 248 9187 or log on to www.bhf.org.uk