WE have been saying it for months – Lakeside must adapt to survive.

Well, there is no doubt that Essex’s largest shopping centre is now doing all it possibly can to combat any hits it takes from the everincreasing threat of online shopping.

Recently, an extra focus has been put on entertainment and restaurants rather than retail.

The new multi-million pound food hall is officially open – and proving popular – while an extra push has been focussed towards the entertainment industry, with the hotly anticipated Puttshack opening this month.

While Hollywood Bowl is already open with a Nickelodeon themed family entertainment centre and trampoline park not far behind.

Now, the latest plans focus on a public square and creating open space for the public to enjoy.

They are part of £168m expansion plans which will add thousands of homes, with the shopping centre acting as a new town centre.

New homes need facilities, and Lakeside is not short of them.

The centre’s two big hitters, House of Fraser and Debenhams, have been embroiled in fears over their future.

And Lakeside bosses are hoping to keep both in some form within the centre, but the two large cornerstones are key in the new transformation.

Shopping is constantly changing, there is no denying that some of us look to the internet before we brave a trip to Lakeside.

But Lakeside is on it and prepared for the fight. The ambition shown in this story speaks for itself. Loud and clear.