SHOPPING centre bosses want to demolish a store unit and install new signs in a bid to create a 'wider, lighter, brighter entrance'.

The Grove, in Witham, have submitted an application for the work to its Newland Street entrance which would also see new paving and columns re-cladded.

According to the bid submitted to Braintree Council: "A major problem with the Grove Centre is the lack of active retail frontage from Newland Street into the main heart of the Centre.

"The existing projecting barrel vault canopy obscures views to signage from the primary retail area to the south. The Centre is effectively invisible to those unfamiliar with the town.

"The entrance is a key route into the shopping centre and a primary connection between the town centre and the car parking areas. The current entrance is dated and uninviting.

"The exiting narrow and underwhelming shopping centre entrance facing onto Newland Street will be retained but widened through the removal of the existing vacant shop unit.

"This will provide a focal entrance feature into the shopping centre with the new entrance signage spanning the length of the removed unit and existing pedestrian entrance through the removal of the existing curved glazed canopy.

"The new refurbished entrance will provide a smart modern look to the centre whilst respecting the special character of the area and traditional timber features noted on neighbouring units."

Tina Townsend, the leader of the Witham Chamber of Commerce, said she welcomed the proposed work.

Mrs Townsend said: "The entrance is very narrow so opening it up will give a more welcoming feel to the centre.

"Anything that makes the centre look more modern will be a good thing, retail is already struggling to compete with internet sales so this change will hopefully make the centre more inviting and increase footfall.

"I look forward to seeing it completed."

Search 18/02024/FUL on the Braintree Council planning portal for more information.