CLEARANCE work to make way for a new supermarket has begun at a disused quarry in Chipping Sodbury.

Diggers have moved on to Barnhill Quarry to begin clearing vegetation from the site in preparation for building work to get underway on a new Waitrose store.

The supermarket is part of a development which also includes 160 houses and a new pedestrian footbridge over the River Frome, new retail units and a covered market area to link the store with the town’s largely independent High Street.

The preparatory works are expected to take until the end of January and work on the Waitrose store itself will begin next month.

Kevin Cornish, from Midas Retail which is building the store, said: "Waitrose intends to open the store in autumn 2013.

"We are looking forward to working with the local community throughout the delivery of this project."

He said a public car park on Wickwar Road, the future of which was the source of many objections to the development planning application, would continue to operate during the works, with a minimum of 102 spaces safeguarded for public use.

The public toilets within the car park will be demolished next month and new facilities will be provided within the Waitrose store.

As part of the planning permission for the site, building work is permitted between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am and 1pm on Saturdays with no works on Sundays.