SMALL businesses have set up shop in Harwich’s first indoor shopping centre.

Kingsway Plaza, in Kingsway, Dovercourt is set to consist of 17 independent shops when in full use.

The former Basement nightclub has been transformed into a new space for independent businesses and residents wanting to start up their own shops on a small scale.

There is a central corridor with the different sized shops along each side, each with their own door and window.

Planning permission was given for the new mini mall in February last year and so far 13 businesses have taken up the shop spaces including a cafe, zero-waste store, and accessories and clothing businesses.

Jay Barham, owner of Buttercakes and Sweets cafe in Kingsway Plaza, said: “The initial response for the plaza has been very good with so many positive people coming in.

“There are multiple pop-up shops, so you see many people popping in and out.

“It’s a great place, it is very light, spacious and it is good to see the people of Harwich coming together for it.”

Once all the shop spaces are filled, it is believed an official grand opening will be held.

Martyn Donn, who runs a ladies plus-size clothes shop, as well as selling net curtains, said: “There is nothing like it around.

“People should stop complaining what the town doesn’t have and start to support what we do have, which is the plaza. It is a good place for people wanting to try and start up a business as you are not tied down to a long-term lease.

“You can test things out short term and then decide where to go next. I expect things will only improve when all the units are filled.”

Steve Davies, managing director of Leonard and Davies Developments, who was behind the project, said he came up with the idea to help small start-up businesses in the town. The planning permission also allows for nine flats to be built above the mall, which Mr Davies previously said would take second strand to the shops being completed.

For more information about Kingsway Plaza and its opening times, search on Facebook for Kingsway Plaza.