DEMOLITION work began is set to begin on the £30million project to redevelop Stratford’s Town Square.
The planned revamp has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade but has been dogged by delays and legal problems.
In December councillors gave the green light to the proposals put forward by developers UK & European Investments.
They include plans for around 30 shops and restaurants, a four-screen cinema, together with public open space for events and outdoor entertainment.
The Everyman cinema group was the first to sign up to be involved in the project while upmarket burger chain Byron has also confirmed it will be part of the new-look square, which is set to be renamed Bell Court when the works are complete.
As part of the scheme, UK & European Investments intends to improve the entrances into the development and the 14th century bell that was previously hung at the site will also be re-installed.
The first stage of the work, which will start on Monday (February 8), is expected to last around three months and will see the former Somerfield store knocked down.
It will be followed by construction works on a number of new buildings.
The much-anticipated redevelopment has been welcomed by Stratford Town Council, the Stratford Society and Stratford Voice.
Townspeople are equally as keen with hundreds attending a public exhibition of the plans last year.
John Stacey, asset management director at developer UK & European Investments, said: “The first unit to be demolished will be the former Somerfield store, making way for the new Everyman cinema that will be delivered as part of this project.
“This is a very exciting time as it marks the beginning of the redevelopment of Town Square – something the town has been eagerly awaiting for many years.”
The developers own the lease on the square – two thirds of which is owned by the district council and the other third by Stratford Town Trust.
UK & European Investments say Bell Court should be open for business in mid-2017.