Huntingdon’s long-awaited new shopping centre remains on course to be open by early next year, according to developers.

Work on the Chequers Shopping Centre began late last year, following a lengthy period of inactivity at the key town centre site, and developers Churchmanor say progress continues apace.

The next phase of work will see the steel frame of the building erected within the next few months.

Graham Humphrey, director of Manormaker, said: "The signing of the two retailers is a major coup for Huntingdon and a significant affirmation of Huntingdon as a growing retail centre and a strong indication that high quality retailers see Huntingdon as a solid trading location for their brands.

"We have worked for a number of years with Sainsbury's and Huntingdonshire District Council to bring forward this major investment, the first part of which involved construction of the new multi-storey car park by the council.

"We believe completion of the Chequers Shopping Centre will provide Huntingdon with a significantly enhanced retail offer and attract new shoppers to the town."

Already signed up to the development are Marks and Spencer, opening a food offer in a 9,500sqft store, and Next, opening a 15,000 sqft store.

Mr Humphrey said that, on completion, the new shopping would have space enough for nine retailers - "three large and six small".

Councillor Robin Howe, leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "It has taken a lot of negotiation and hard work to get to this position where the final part of the jigsaw is being put in place.

"The district council has supported the scheme for over 10 years, and we are pleased to see this come to fruition with the commencement of this building project, and to know that we have some good stores coming to booster the town."