PREPARATION work will start today ready for a new Morrisons store to be built in Stafford.
The work includes removing several trees from the Kingsmead car park, which is where the new store and petrol station will be.
Developers LXB are working with certified ecologists to ensure no trees occupied by nesting birds are removed in accordance with the Countryside & Wildlife Act 1981.
The car park will remain open during the tree felling, although sections could be closed off at certain times.
Demolition of the old Bridge Street car park at the other end of town is expected to be completed by the end of the month to make way for the new multi storey car park as part of the Riverside scheme, which will include a Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and H&M, as well as a six-screen cinema and food outlets.
Carl Barrand, from LXB, said: “We are pleased we can now get started at Kingsmead. It will mean we have two major developments underway in Stafford so we can deliver a first class retail offer for the town and attract more shoppers to the area which will be a boost for the local economy.”
LXB have signed an agreement with Morrisons to take a 25 year lease for the foodstore, which will be more than 71,000 sq ft, and 460 car parking spaces. The redevelopment will also include 14,000 sq ft for other retail.
Council leader Mike Heenan, said: “We are one of the few areas nationwide that has major town centre development taking place at a time when people are still cautious about committing to projects of this size because of the economic climate.
“Already people are excited to see and hear what is coming to Stafford and the feedback from the recent exhibition about a proposed cinema was very positive.”