Building work is set to begin in January on Huntingdon’s long-delayed Chequers Court shopping scheme - according to developer Churchmanor Estates.

The news comes a week after The Hunts Post reported that the mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Bill Hensley, branded the development “an eyesore” and urged Churchmanor “to get their finger out and do some work”.

A spokesman for Churchmanor told The Hunts Post: “We know this has been a long process, but it has not been a straightforward one. We have been working hard to ensure that the process has moved quickly as possible, as we are aware of the impact that the site has on the town.”

After speculation last week that Marks & Spencer Food, Next and Ask Italian have shown interest in the development, Churchmanor says that it is “in talks with two major tenants for the scheme, and these are at an advanced stage”.

Two years after the Inland Revenue building was pulled down, Churchmanor has announced that it has appointed construction company R G Carter to complete preliminary works.

“We hope that now we are able to move forward and create a fantastic new shopping centre to complement the existing shops, and for the people of Huntingdon to enjoy.”

Following Sainsburys' decision not to relocate, Churchmanor reported that, for the last year, it has been working with Huntingdonshire District Council to agree terms.

“In addition Churchmanor have been completing all the pre-construction work, such as archaeology and clearing the planning conditions for the site.”

It is anticipated that road works at Trinity Place and the relocation of services along the front of Chequers Court will be completed by Christmas.