Lidl’s new superstore in Portchester opened its doors to its first customers today.
A queue of shoppers were waiting outside as the new store opened at 8am.
And after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was cut by the Lord Mayoress of Fareham, Councillr Connie Hockley, they were quick to bag opening bargains including 30 per cent off selected meat and poultry and up to £30 off selected non-food products. Pamela Drain was the first customer through the doors of the store.
She said: ‘My husband thought I was mad getting up at this time to go to the opening - I left him in bed.
‘I really love Lidl and think the staff are great in all of their stores.
‘The new store is lovely. There is lots of better facilities like the toilets, which are good if parents want to take their children shopping.
‘This is right on my door step. They have some really good offers, their fruit and vegetables are good quality and their flowers last a long time.’
Simon Brooks, 53, was the second customer who get a glimpse of the new store.
‘It seems a lot bigger than the ones they usually have. It is better for me to come here.’
The store has been proposed for at least three years, but it faced objections from the local authority, which was concerned that its opening would take shoppers from the main shopping precinct and that it would see valuable industrial space lost to retail.
A huge campaign was launched, with Lidl writing to thousands of residents to muster support.
A petition in support of the proposals gathered more than 4,300 signatures and a crowd of 400 packed out the Ferneham Hall to watch the council’s planning committee make its final decision.
The plans were approved and work started to build the 1,424sq m store, which has created 40 new jobs.
Lidl UK’s regional property director, Oliver McGuinness, said: ‘We’d like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to Portchester.
‘It’s wonderful for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area and we can’t wait to start serving our multi-award winning products to the local community.’
The store’s opening date was posted on its Facebook page.
But it caused some upset as it declared the store to be in Fareham, not Portchester. After hundreds of people commented on the post, the location was corrected.