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The Lakeside Shopping Centre is a large out-of-town shopping centre located in West Thurrockmarker, in the borough of Thurrockmarker, Essex just beyond the eastern boundary of Greater Londonmarker. It opened on 25 October 1990.

The shopping centre, in addition to the retail parks, forms one of the largest shopping areas in a single location within Europe, with almost of retail space on a site of . The community of Chafford Hundredmarker has grown to the east of the centre since its opening. Its main rival is the Bluewatermarker Shopping Centre in Greenhithemarker, Kentmarker just across the River Thames.

Main shopping centre

The shopping centre is the seventh largest in Britain with available as retail floorspace - the MetroCentremarker in Gatesheadmarker, after its expansion in 2004, is the largest. There are 228 shops, of which there are 3 department stores, 33 cafes and restaurants and a lake named Alexandra Lake with a PADI certified diving school complex. Lakeside has on average 500,000 visitors per week.

It is currently open on weekdays from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. The centre's car parks have capacity for 13,000 cars.

Transport connections

The centre has a direct link to Chafford Hundred railway stationmarker and is connected to the M25 motorwaymarker which is London's outermost ring road, as well as to the A13 road which connects central and east Londonmarker to Basildonmarker and Southend-on-Seamarker. It is connected to the London Bus network by London Buses routes 370 and 372 with other operators such as Arriva, Ensignbusmarker and First Essex also providing bus services to the centre. Route X80 operated by Ensignbusmarker provides a link to Chafford Hundred Stationmarker and Bluewatermarker across the Dartford Crossingmarker. First London have recently introduced Route 265 which provides a vital link to Brentwood.

In 2007 London Transport announced that standard London bus fares apply to routes 370 and 372 for all stops up to and including Lakeside (standard fares had previously ended at the Greater London/Thurrock boundary, with an additional rate required to complete journeys to Lakeside).

There is also and hourly Monday to Saturday service provided by Arriva Southend called service 5 'Basildon Direct' to Southendmarker via Basildonmarker, although it is much more quicker to take the train from Lakeside to Southend as the bus journey takes 2 hours.

Route Number Route'
5 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Southend Travel Centremarker via Basildonmarker
22 Aveley Usk Roadmarker to Grays Bus Stationmarker via West Thurrockmarker
33 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Grays Bus Stationmarker via Chafford Hundredmarker
44 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Grays Bus Station (daily) / Orsett markerHospital (Mon-Sat hourly only) via Purfleetmarkermarker
66 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Chadwell St Mary Longhouse Roadmarker via Tilburymarker
73/73C Lakeside Shopping Centre to Tilbury Civic Squaremarker via Graysmarker
83 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Chadwell St Mary Longhouse Roadmarker via Graysmarker
100 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Basildon Bus Stationmarker (daily) / Chelmsford Bus Stationmarker (Mon-Sat only) via Graysmarker
150 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Basildon Bus Stationmarker via Graysmarker
200 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Basildon Bus Stationmarker via Orsettmarker
265 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Brentwood Sainsburys via Bulphanmarker
370 (TfL) Lakeside Shopping Centre to Romford Stationmarker via Upminstermarker
372 (TfL) Lakeside Shopping Centre to Hornchurch Town Centremarker via Rainhammarker
575 Lakeside Shopping Centre to Epping High Streetmarker via Romfordmarker
711 Romford Stationmarker to Hempstead Post Office via Bluewatermarker
X80 Chafford Hundred Stationmarker to Bluewater Shopping Centremarker via Lakeside (Mon-Sat Only)


New developments

'The Boardwalk' under construction in early September 2006, showing the new bridge to the main shopping centre and the old 'Lakeside Pavilion' building.
Construction on the new decking for 'The Boardwalk'.
'The Boardwalk' nearing completion in early June 2007.
'The Boardwalk' on opening day - 14 June 2007.


To ensure the centre maintains its competition with the newer (and what is perceived by some as more 'upmarket') Bluewatermarker shopping centre, which lies just over the Thames in Greenhithemarker, Lakeside has recently undergone major refurbishment at a cost of £30 million. This included new Italian porcelain flooring, new lighting, a new ceiling and new glass roofs which allow much more natural light into the shopping centre. There are now also new, faster lifts, and 4 more escalators along with automatic entrance doors. A non-smoking policy across the whole shopping centre was also introduced in January 2004. The refurbishment has also encouraged refitting of many shops so that they complement the new surroundings. In September 2005, Next opened an . extension to their store.

The Lakeside Pavilion was an area adjoined to the main shopping centre via a covered bridge - this area had a 'market' feel to it, with various stalls selling novelty gifts, paintings and collector items adjacent to a small food court. By the beginning of 2006 this had been closed and partly removed for the construction of a new entertainment area named ‘The Boardwalk’.

Re-opened on Thursday 14 June 2007, The Boardwalk provides an additional . of retail space for 10 new restaurants along with more retail and leisure space, as well as a 10 metre boardwalk, offering external seating which overlooks Alexandra Lake. The newly refurbished Old Orleans bar and restaurant was open on the same day, with new features including a rooftop bar.

Vue cinema formed part of the old Lakeside Pavilion, with a 7 screen cinema. This closed on 11 January 2007 to be refurbished, and was re-opened on Friday 15 June 2007; the refurbishment resulted in 9 state of the art screens with stadium seating, including a premium "Gold Class" screen housing luxury reclinable armchair-style seating, and a special screen that would show major sporting, music and gaming events as well as key films. This 'Evolution Screen', with a combination of giant bean bag chair and sofa, is the first of its kind in the UK.

Applemarker opened its tenth UK store at Lakeside Shopping Centre.

Marks & Spencer, one of the centre's 4 anchor stores, applied for planning permission in July 2008 to allow construction of a third storey extension to their store, in addition to an extensive refurbishment of the store layout and customer facilities. The application was approved at the end of October 2008 although it is unknown when construction will begin.

Retail parks

There are also two retail parks nearby called the Lakeside Retail Park and The Junction. Lakeside Retail Park has a number of stores such as:





The Junction has shops such as:





In August 2009 it was announced that US retail giant Best Buy would be opening one of its first UK stores at The Junction. The company has signed a 10 year lease for a 50,000 square foot megastore which will be located on the site of the former Courts store. On 15 August, blue hoardings started to go up around the store left on site by Courts, with the Best Buy logo clearly shown. The new store is planned to open in March 2010.

In a move to counter the opening of Best Buy, Currys have signed up to take on 100,000 square foot of retail space in Lakeside Retail Park, on the site vacated by Danish Store ILVA. Currys will open a new megastore and hope to shake off the tag of 'The Death Store' on a site considered to be jinxed, after Marks & Spencer abandoned plans to open its Lifestore, and the demise of ILVA after a much lauded UK launch.

Docusoap

In 1998, Lakesiders was a BBC docusoap narrated by Pauline Quirke following the activities of management, shopkeepers and staff of the shopping centre. The fractious working relationship between Essex FM's breakfast show DJ Martin Day and his boss Paul Chantler also featured. The theme music was by Simon May.A new series, Return to Lakesiders, was filmed by the BBC in 2007 and was broadcast on BBC Two 18-22 August 2008.

Notes

  1. Russell Ash, Top 10 of Britain (Hamlyn, 2009)
  2. Vue cinema Thurrock


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