A FISHMONGERS that has traded for nearly eight decades has closed and will be turned into a restaurant.

Goodspeeds in Chapel Street, Billericay – which up until the present day has still been run by the Goodspeed family – has been selling fresh fish for the last 75 years.

But in recent years the business has fallen into decline due to competition from the nearby Waitrose supermarket and it served its last fish on Friday.

There are currently 23 bars, restaurants or cafes in the town.

Phil Turner, Billericay ward councillor and Basildon Council’s cabinet member for finance and resources, said the shop’s closure was sad news He said: “It’s very sad to see something like this – which performs a unique function in the town – being replaced by more of the same.

“I think everybody is disappointed to see the shop go, but when the majority of supermarkets provide wet fish when you want it, I think the competition was too much.”

Over the last 15 months the Goodspeed family made several unsuccessful attempts to sell the premises, which at one time also operated as a fish and chip shop. However the shop, which is tucked slightly off of the main busy High Street, failed to sell and the family instead applied for planning permission to change it into a restaurant.

In its planning application the agent for the family cited “severe decline” in trade as the reason for closing the shop. It added that the family have been advised that a restaurant will be a more viable business.

Planning permission for the restaurant has already been granted by Basildon Council, although it is not yet clear what type it will be.

The Goodspeed family were unavailable for comment.