THE metal skeleton of a huge new supermarket is taking shape.
The 45,000 sq ft store is on the site of the former Caetano coachbuilding factory and Sprint Print, in Hambledon Road, in Waterlooville.
Work is well underway with a scheduled opening at Christmas time and recruitment starting two months before.
The piling was completed last month and the steel frame is now being constructed.
It means the new Sainsbury’s store has become visible for the first time, rising up behind the hoardings.
A new pedestrian and cycle ramp linking Wellington Retail Park and the town centre is currently under construction.
Residents and businesses have been calling for the link to the town for years to ensure there is a flow of trade from the town centre to the retail park.
The ramp should be completed in September.
Daren Carpenter, Sainsbury’s project manager, said: ‘This is an extremely exciting time as the outline of the store starts to take shape.
‘Once finished, the new store will provide vastly improved food shopping choice as well as approximately 350 new full or part-time jobs for local residents.
‘We are very proud to be actively involved in a number of community initiatives in Waterlooville, in partnership with our contractors RG Group, and we look forward to continuing this involvement in the future.’
Pupils from Riverside Community Special School have painted the murals on the hoardings which cover the development.
Not everyone was happy about the size and scale of the building with fears that at two storeys it will dwarf nearby houses.
With 2,500 new homes being built to the west of Waterlooville major retailers are aiming to cash in on the potential for new shoppers.
A Marks and Spencer Simply Food shop opened in Wellington Retail Park in the spring.
Multi-million-pound plans have been approved to build a new cinema, bowling alley, restaurant complex, supermarket and hotel near to the Sainsburys site.
Developers want to transform the former Marconi site, off Elettra Avenue.
The 14-acre land was bought by BAE Systems in 2000, but is now largely vacant.
For more information go to j-sainsbury.co.uk/waterlooville.