Supermarket giant Lidl has announced when its new store in Colchester could finally open. 

Work has begun to furnish the inside of the long-awaited supermarket at Colchester’s former Homebase site.

The German supermarket Lidl says works to fit out the site off St Andrew’s Avenue began last week.

The final works at the store are expected to take six months with a view to opening this winter.

It is predicted the store will create about 40 jobs when it opens its doors and the 1,370m² shop will feature an in-store bakery and ample parking.

Lidl GB’s regional head of property, Andrew Hodgkinson, said: “There’s been much anticipation for this new Lidl store and it’s great we are now in a position to start the fit out works.

“We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received so far and would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we enter this next phase of the development.”

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The new supermarket forms part of the company’s ongoing £1.3 billion investment across the country in 2021 and 2022.

It will be the third Lidl store in the town and two additional units will be created at the former DIY store site, which has been empty since 2018.

Plans for Subway and Costa Coffee to take over the new units were also rubber stamped by Colchester Council’s planning officers.

Planning permission was initially granted in 2019, despite objections being raised by the firm’s nearby rivals Asda and Tesco.

Fresh plans for the site emerged in August last year, which included the slightly larger supermarket and the two additional units.

A number of conditions have been put in place including on things like the opening hours of the site and improvements to nearby bus stops.

The Lidl store will be open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays, while the other units can operate between 6am and 11pm every day.

Ward councillor Tim Young welcomed the extra competition it would bring to the north side of the town.

He said: “I honestly do think Colchester needs another Lidl.

“It will create new jobs and they are desperately needed at the moment.”