A NEW supermarket that has been in the works since 2017 will open at last next year.

It has taken four years for Aldi to get its Highworth store off the ground after the retail giant faced a prolonged planning process, fought an appeal from a rival chain and then had the pandemic postponing its plans even further.

After first submitting a proposal in October 2017 for the store to be built on land north of the Blackworth Industrial Estate, the German chain received strong support from Highworth Town Council.

Councillors approved of the addition to the area as long as the footpath from the nearby bus stop was improved.

Swindon Borough Council considered rejecting the proposal because it was feared that the new shop would lead to the high street losing trade.

But Highworth countered that several independent shop owners on that street thought it would actually do the opposite and bring more shoppers to the town.

Hundreds of people signed a petition supporting the new supermarket branch and eventually persuaded the borough to give it the go-ahead.

The Midcounties Co-operative, which owns what is currently Highworth’s only supermarket, objected to the approval but its appeal failed.

An ecological expert who works with Aldi offered help to the volunteers who run Pentylands Country Park as a way of making up for the loss of 1.25 acres of grassland which would be caused by the shop’s construction.

It was previously thought that the shop would begin being built in the spring of this year but neighbours in the area will have to wait a little longer to visit the shop because one final green light needs to be given before work can start.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “Construction of our new Highworth store will commence once the Highways agreement between the owner of the wider site and the council has been approved.

“This will allow construction of the access road for the Aldi site to begin.

“We hope to start work in the next few months and hope to open next year. This will create between 35 and 40 jobs for the community.”

The retailer is investing around £13 million in new and upgraded stores across Wiltshire this year, creating about 90 jobs in the process. 

This will include the refurbishment of two Swindon branches as well as the construction of the new Highworth branch.