A NEW car park will open in Westhoughton today with an increase in capacity for local shoppers.

Businesses say the town is an "uncut diamond" and with the addition of the new store and car park, which will be accessed from Library Street, they are the welcome "polishing" needed to encourage more people to shop local.

Market trader Karen Hargreaves, said: “Aldi will bring more people onto Market Street and it will encourage people to visit the refurbished Market Hall and local businesses.

“There has been a decline in footfall on Market Street for a number of years due to online stores, retail developments out of town and this has made some people forget that we have an uncut diamond of a town that just needs polishing up in certain areas.”

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The council agreed a land swap with Aldi to build the new car park on the former Glebe Mill site.

Cllr David Chadwick, Executive Cabinet Member for Highways and Westhoughton South councillor, said he has been working with Aldi and council leader Linda Thomas to get this done as soon as possible.

He said: “We have been working towards getting this approved and open with our highways team. Westhoughton is vibrant and thriving with free car parking all year round and this is another way to help more people to come and shop local.”

The Bolton Road car park will close before it becomes the Aldi store car park which will open on the February 25.

Shop fitters are expected to take over soon and new refrigerated units, racks and checkouts will be installed.