Hundreds of jobs have been saved now House of Fraser at Lakeside will stay open.

The department store's survival is a huge boost for the shopping centre and its future.

It was earmarked for closure after new owners, Sports Direct, stepped in to buy the company last year, but was unable to reach a deal with Lakeside owners Intu, which also houses stores in Norwich, Gateshead and Nottingham.

But now it's been confirmed all four will remain open.

Fan of the store Susan Barkley, who lives in Grays, said: “This is fantastic. It was quite worrying because House of Fraser is such a big shop.

“I am a big fan of the shop and it is one of the main reasons I go to Lakeside.”

Mike Murray, head of elevation at Sports Direct, said: “After the stalled talks with Intu we are happy to announce that we have come to an agreement that will help secure the future of House of Fraser Intu stores in Norwich, Metro Centre, Lakeside and Nottingham.

“This is great news for over a thousand employees whose jobs have now been saved.

“We would like to thank Intu and all of our colleagues for their hard work and patience throughout the past five months. This shows further commitment to the high street and the turnaround of House of Fraser.”

The announcement was met with excitement from residents, who had fears over the future of the shopping centre.

Following the announcement that House of Fraser would be closing last year, Lakeside announced it would look into “alternative options” to help the shopping centre prosper.

They also claimed new jobs and further investment into Lakeside would be made, with the owners stating a number of big name retailers are in negotiations for empty shops.

Meanwhile, a planning application has also recently been submitted for new homes to be built, creating a town surrounding Lakeside.

The major plans, including 2,500 homes, a school, health facilities and wide-ranging open space were submitted to Thurrock Council at the start of this month.