CONSTRUCTION has officially started in Clitheroe on new Aldi and Pets at Home stores which is set to create around 50 jobs.

The £5million development, at the former Barkers Garden Centre site in Whalley Road, was given the green light by Ribble Valley Borough Council last year.

The plot of land was cleared at the start of the year ahead of builders moving in.

It is expected that the project, at the site which has been vacant since the garden centre was closed in 2003, will be completed before the end of the year.

Barnfield Construction, on behalf of developers Rawdon Investments Limited, will build the 16,300sqft Aldi supermarket and the 6,000sqft Pets at Home store alongside around 90 parking spaces.

This is the second Aldi supermarket in the past 12 months that Barnfield has constructed, with the other just completed in St Helens.

Stuart Hirst, leader of the borough council, said: "It seems to be a very popular development.

"I'm looking forward to this project adding to the on-going economic development in Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley and for the creation of new jobs as well.

"It's good that the investors have shown confidence in the town and the area as a whole."

Brian Scott, of Rawdon Investments, said: "We are delighted to have secured planning permission for the re-development of this important gateway site which has been vacant for well over a decade.

"The design of the development will enhance the entrance into Clitheroe from the south and will further improve consumer choice in the town.

NatWest’s Real Estate team provided funding to support the development.

Paul Mercer, relationship director at NatWest, said: “We are delighted to support this new retail complex in Clitheroe which will not only create jobs but also supports growth opportunities in Lancashire.

"We have been working with Rawdon Investments Ltd for a number of years and have developed an excellent relationship which has allowed for us to assist with company’s business growth aspirations.”

Mike Clarke, property director at Aldi, said: “We are pleased to be part of this exciting new scheme.

"We look forward to bringing our offer of high quality products at unbeatable prices to Clitheroe later in 2015."

Aldi have almost 600 UK stores and have said that it expects to open more than one per week during 2015.

Pets at Home was founded in 1991 and has more than 380 stores across the UK, employing more than 6,000 people.

Barnfield Construction was last active in Clitheroe when the company built the Homebase building in Queensway in 2009.