A MAJOR supermarket chain is hoping to open a new store in Billericay.

Aldi has announced it is looking for a site in the town for a store.

It is one of seven parts of south Essex, and 13 in total in Essex, the chain is interested in expanding into.

Councillors in Billericay have welcomed the news and any potential new store.

Tory Andrew Schrader said: “Our high street is a sought after location and I welcome any new business coming to the town.

“I think competition and diversity is a good thing and I also think the residents will relish the added choice.”

Councillor Phil Turner added: “I think this would be very much welcomed in Billericay.

“I think the retailer had planned to open a store in the town about 15 years ago and residents were unhappy about it but now people understand the company more.

“I am encouraged to hear the company has identified the town for a new store.”

A report on the company website states: “Our sustained growth means we are continually expanding our property portfolio to help achieve our ever-growing goals for 2022.

“We have ambitious acquisition and development plans beyond that and are looking to acquire sites that meet the following property criteria for our standard store format.

“We prefer to purchase freehold, town centre or edge of centre sites suitable for property development in towns with a population of 15,000 or more.

“We are willing to explore all opportunities including developer led schemes and existing or new retail units.”

The supermarket chain is also considering sites in Basildon, Stanford-Le-Hope, Canvey, Leigh, Rayleigh, Shenfield and Southend.

The budget supermarket has already announced plans to expand its store in Wickford, with concerns raised about the demolition of two historic buildings included in the plans.

And it is moving and expanding a Southend store from Eastern Avenue to Priory Close due to the continued growth of the store. Aldi was contacted for comment.