WORK has started on a new public car park in Westhoughton, heralding the beginning of the Aldi development.

The scheme for the new supermarket in Bolton Road and the 76-space car park off Library Street received planning permission from Bolton Council in March last year.

And after months of delays, work has now started on the latter, which has to be built before the new store as required under the planning approval.

Cllr Ryan Battersby, deputy leader of Westhoughton Town Council, said he was pleased that the work has started and that the much-awaited development was progressing.

"A lot of people have been asking me when the new Aldi is coming. People seem to like Aldi as a convenience store.

"Everyone seems to be pleased that Aldi is coming. It has taken months and months to start the process.

"I understand there are reasons why but I am just pleased it has finally started. There have been some fears from residents."

The new public car park will replace the current one off Bolton Road, which will be where Aldi's 98-space customer car park will be built.

Cllr Battersby said: "It is a bigger car park with more disabled spaces than the one we had and the car park is closer to Market Street."

The land behind the town hall is the former Glebe Mill, which has been empty and unsightly for some time.

Cllr Battersby said: "I am very pleased. It has been an eyesore for many years and it will be changing into something that will be useful for everyone."

The Department of Transport only recently gave permission for the current public car park to be closed.

But it will not be shut until the new version has been formed.

Once completed, the Aldi store will bring 40-50 jobs to the area and, during the planning process, the German company confirmed that employing local people would be a priority.

It is hoped that the store will be open sometime next year.