Hundreds of new jobs will be created as work on the long-awaited Morrisons superstore in St Ives gets under way later this month.
The supermarket chain was originally given planning permission in 2013 but, after years of delays, it revealed in September last year that the store, between Needingworth Road and Harrison Way, would be smaller than originally planned.
The size of the supermarket was reduced from 63,750 sq ft to 44,000 sq ft after the company stated it had be re-designed to “better suit the local area and the needs” of its shoppers.
A spokesman for the retailer said: “We’re pleased to reach this exciting milestone and look forward to the store taking shape over the next few months. The local community has been very supportive of these plans so it’s great to finally make a start.”
The store will include the company’s staple Market Street, where customers will be able to visit bakers, butchers and fishmongers.
It is also planned that the supermarket will include the recently launched Nutmeg womenswear collection, along with a children’s clothing range.
Despite the changes in scale last year, the plan for the store to have a petrol station and a café is still set to go ahead, with the addition of an outdoor seating area for the customer café.
The site will also include 10,500 sq ft unit for a non-food retailer but a tenant for the space has yet to be announced.
The start of construction comes after budget supermarket Aldi announced it was weighing up a bid for a new store in the town, with town mayor, Councillor Philip Pope, concerned that, if Aldi were to go ahead, it could draw people away from the town centre.
“St Ives is an amazing place and it has so much diversity in its independent shops so I hope this new supermarket [Aldi] doesn’t take away from its unique character,” said Cllr Pope.
Morrisons purchased the site from Cambridge-based property group Endurance Estates, and the supermarket is expected to be open early next year.
Morrisons will begin recruitment for the store, expected to create about 200 jobs, later this year through the local Job Centre.