COUNCILLORS in wards surrounding Lakeside have welcomed major plans for an expansion, but have insisted the needs of residents are considered.

Although there are a host of positives surrounding the plan, including upgraded facilities and new jobs, concerns have been raised over whether the area can cope with more development.

Councillor Victoria Holloway, representing West Thurrock and South Stifford, said: “It is really important that this considers the residents of Thurrock and their needs, as well as the existing workforce. As long as that is considered I can’t see a problem with it.

“Looking at the infrastructure surrounding the shopping centre would be part of the planning process.

“There will always be busy periods such as during school holidays and Christmas but it is something I will keep a close eye on to ensure it does not result in disruption.”

She added that job growth is welcomed and while Thurrock is a hub for retail and logistics, the jobs should “offer development and career progression” for people living across Thurrock.

Councillor Oliver Gerrish, representing the same ward, raised concerns that the already congested area could grind to a halt.

He said: “We need to make sure people can still move around as there is always the danger of it becoming very congested, particularly when there is a problem on the QE2 bridge, so the impact on local traffic is something that needs to be assessed and understood.

“In terms of jobs, we always want to make sure there are good and high-quality jobs in Thurrock and a variety of jobs – not just retail and logistics.

“The plans for Purfleet show what we can do by bringing the arts to the region.

“Clearly, I welcome that Thurrock people will have access to jobs but we need to make sure that it is the right kind and the right industries.”