WORK on the long-awaited regeneration of Kirkby town centre started on Monday as contractors began to clear the town’s market area.
Workers from Derby-based O’Leary Construction Ltd were joined by Ashfield District Council leader John Knight for the ground-breaking ceremony at the new Morrisons site.
The Co-op, which is currently at the Precinct, is expected to stop trading in early May and council bosses have to ensure that market stalls and shops in the precinct are vacated by the end of March.
Most of the shop tenants have now vacated their premises - although the library and some shops will remain.
Coun Knight said: “The library will be staying where it is and the hope is that more people will want to use it when the town centre has been developed.”
The outdoor market stalls will also be moved as phase one of the town centre plan.
“I think that this time next year, you won’t be able to recognise it,” Coun Knight said.
“The first stage is the shopping part and the second section is the civic square.”
He said supermarket giant Morrisons would be providing funds for the new civic square under a Section 106 agreement, which is used by local authorities to ensure that major developments also benefit the community. Members of Ashfield District Council’s planning committee granted permission for Morrisons to create a new store in Kirkby last year. Access will be off Diamond Avenue via a junction instead of a roundabout, with improvements to roads.