A NEW supermarket for Yate moved a major step closer this week after plans which have been a year in the making were given the final seal of approval.

Tesco will start building a two-storey flagship store in Yate Shopping Centre before the end of the year, after South Gloucestershire Council agreed a financial deal with the company.

The 10,000 square metre Tesco Extra supermarket, which will replace the cramped and outdated existing store, will be built on stilts with car parking underneath.

Mark Hull, property director for shopping centre owners the Dominion Trust, said: "It has been a long haul but at last we have permission for these major improvements.

"In November we will start relocating the bus station so that work can start early in the New Year on demolishing the existing Tesco store. This will involve Tesco erecting a temporary store where the current East Walk toilets are sited whilst the new Extra store is built."

Planning permission for the supermarket was granted last year but negotiations have only just been finalised between Tesco and the council over how much money the retailers would put forward for a public art project outside the new youth café, due to be built next to Yate Leisure Centre.

The plans include changes to the road networks around the shopping centre and four major new retail units on East Walk.

Added Mr Hull: "As responsible landlords, it is imperative that we work with the community through this period of change so before work starts on-site we will let all local residents know what is happening and keep them informed as the project progresses.

"The centre will continue to function throughout the building works although both vehicular and pedestrian access through the east end of the centre will be restricted during the construction phases.

"We will ensure that the public are kept informed about the best way to access the centre during this period."

The derelict Swan pub will be demolished to make way for a total of 1,545 car parking spaces in a major overhaul of the shopping centre car park.

Long and short stay parking restrictions could be introduced and vehicle recognition systems will be located around the centre.

Mayor of Yate Cllr Ian Blair said: "I am pleased that the shopping centre development is now ready to go ahead. It will mean disruption over a period of time but we in Yate are going to get a good facility when it is completed.

"I look forward to the opening of the new store which will be a flagship but an integral part of the shopping centre."

The new Tesco Extra store is expected to open at the end of 2010 and four new retail units will be ready for lease in mid-2011.