THE date for the opening of the new Lidl store in Radcliffe is drawing ever closer.

The arrival of the flagship store, which opens its doors to customers in March this year, marks the start of 'new life' for the town, according to Bury Council leader Rishi Shori.

Radcliffe has also been put forward to receive vital regeneration through a Greater Manchester-wide scheme.

Bury Council has proposed Radcliffe as one of the locations to be the focus of The Town Centre Challenge.

The initiative aims to give 'left behind' town centres a new lease of life by developing housing and businesses.

Council leader and Radcliffe West Councillor Rishi Shori has been selected to cut the ribbons at the official opening of the store in two months' time.

He said: "The opening of Lidl is fantastic news for Radcliffe which we hope will breathe new life into this part of the town centre and encourage more people to visit other businesses in the area.

"It is part of our broader plans to regenerate the town centre which will now also be supported by the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

"Together we hope to encourage even more investment into the town in the coming years."

Radcliffe’s new Lidl will operate across two floors, and provide the first large-scale retail outlet in the heart of the town centre.

A total of 40 new jobs have been created as a result of the store's arrival, on land provided by Bury Council.

Other investment on infrastructure in the area includes a £2million cash injection for a new bus station and £1million spent on Radcliffe's market hall, which will have a new operator in place this month.

Now Radcliffe has also been nominated to benefit from the Town Centre Challenge, along with nearby Prestwich.

The scheme uses a combination of Mayoral Development Corporations, grants and Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to kick-start developments.

The Challenge was launched in Bury last November by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Councils were asked to identify their chosen town centres by the end of December 2017.