WORK has started on a new multi-million-pound supermarket that will create dozens of jobs in a Hampshire village.

The Lidl store will be built on a former car park in Hythe following one of the biggest planning battles seen in the area for many years.

The car park, between New Road and St John’s Street, has been closed and fenced off ahead of actual construction work.

Last night Lidl confirmed that the 2,194 square metre store will open early next year in a move that will create 40 full and part-time jobs.

Two applications to build the £7 million complex sparked strong views for and against.

Lidl’s initial application was turned down by New Forest District Council, with one member describing the proposed store as a “large tin box” that resembled buildings normally found on industrial estates.

Lidl later submitted a new scheme which aimed to ensure that the supermarket blended in with nearby St John’s Church and other historic buildings.

The new design was approved by 16 votes to one at a meeting of the council’s planning and development control committee last September.

Members said Lidl had replaced a “square box” with something which was “much more fitting”.

The council had received 48 letters of objection but more than 300 and a 3,969-name petition from supporters of the proposal.

The store will be built on land opposite the Hythe and Dibden Parish Council offices as part of a larger project to revitalise the village centre.

Flats could spring up on a site currently occupied by PC Building Supplies, which is moving from South Street to Hardley Industrial Estate.

Churchill Retirement Living has been given planning permission to build 36 apartments on the site but is now seeking consent for 43 flats.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Lidl is also planning to build a store on a site formerly occupied by Shirley police station.

The company’s initial proposal was thrown out by Southampton City Council after sparking more than 90 objections but the company has now submitted a revised scheme.

Lidl has moved the store away from Mayflower Road in a bid to overcome one of the main objections to the first application.