The new year will finally see the arrival of a new shopping experience in Alton.

Speculation has been rife in the town as to when the Mill Lane Retail Park will open.

An initial date of February 2023 slipped to “winter 2023”, but with roadworks to install traffic lights at the junction of Mill Lane and Montecchio Way having to be finished by Christmas the timing has become more precise.

Asked by the Herald for the latest estimate, a spokesperson for developer Hargreaves Properties Limited said: “As the existing road signage indicates, the works run until December 2023.

“The retail park is due to open in January 2024.”

Excitement increased among potential customers this week as three of the spaces on the large sign welcoming people to the development were filled.

The sign indicates that Lidl, Home Bargains and Costa Coffee will occupy three of the four units.

A smaller fourth space remains blank but it is believed that a gym may become the final tenant.

Lidl has been keenly anticipated by people wanting to save money on their weekly shop while Home Bargains was welcomed on social media by those who would no longer have to travel to Basingstoke to visit that store.