A MAJOR step in a £50 million regeneration project, which could bring more than 300 year-round jobs to Weymouth, has been taken.

Developers LondonMetric Property and Avercet have reached a major milestone in their plans to regenerate land at Weymouth Gateway, with the handover of a fully serviced building to Aldi. The budget supermarket chain will now fit out the completed shell of the store ahead of an expected September 3 opening.

The developers have been working to bring forward a phased £50 million investment on both sides of Mercery Road since 2018. Once completed, they expect it will generate in total more than 300 jobs. As well as progressing the Aldi development to the east of Mercery Road, they have submitted a planning application for the extension of Medisave House which will create approximately 30 new jobs, and another for a retail-led scheme for land to the west of Mercery Road which could provide more than 250 further jobs.

Chris Newns of Avercet said: "We are excited to have made this progress with Phase 1 of our plans to make a long-vacant site productive and, in so doing, create a vibrant gateway for Weymouth. It is with great pleasure that we formally welcome Aldi as our new occupiers."

The store, which is situated next to Sainsbury's on the Gateway site, is on track to open as planned on September 3. It will replace Aldi’s ageing and much smaller Jubilee Retail Park store, which is set to be taken over by a national food retailer. Staff from Aldi’s closing store will transfer to Weymouth Gateway and Aldi hopes to employ at least 15 additional people. Recruitment will start shortly.

John Richardson, regional managing director of Aldi, said: "This move to a bigger and better store will enable us to provide the full award-winning range and enhanced shopping experience that our customers have come to expect.

"In these unprecedented times, Weymouth needs new year-round jobs more than ever, so we’re particularly delighted to be part of a major regeneration project that is stimulating investment in the town and creating new jobs as well as more choice for local residents."