Residents and business owners in Basildon have expressed their outrage after the opening of a branch of The Horology Centre in the Eastgate Shopping Centre, with many people worried that it could be the first of many adult outlets that will be allowed to trade within the borough. A number of people have contacted Southend News Network to complain, but according to local commerce chiefs there is ‘absolutely no chance’ that the store will be forced to close down.

Martin Timex, owner of Basildon Spoons, has been running his cutlery shop in the town centre for 25 years – he is worried that his regular customers will be so disgusted that they will take their custom to another town altogether. He said: ‘When I walked past the new branch of The Horology Centre for the first time, I had to stop and do a double-take. I never realised that there was actually a science dedicated to this sort of thing, and I know that it is 2016, but nevertheless a lot of us feel that a town centre is no place for Horology.’

Madeleine Myope, a lifelong Basildon resident, also agrees that serious questions need to be asked about this new business. She said: ‘When I heard about this new shop, I did wonder how anyone could actually make any money out of horoscopes – but then I read the sign and the terrible truth suddenly hit me. This sort of thing belongs in Amsterdam, not a respectable Essex town!’