CONTROVERSIAL multi-million pound plans to build a discount supermarket on the site of an historic cattle market have taken a step forward after the land was finally acquired.

International chain Lidl has purchased the site on Christy’s Lane in Shaftesbury from North Dorset District Council (NDDC) for a reported £1.9million.

After a failed legal battle from Shaftesbury Town Council to block the transfer, the supermarket was able to complete the deal.

Lidl have announced their intentions for a public consultation on the proposals however a date for the event has not yet been set.

Cllr Michael Roake, NDDC portfolio holder for environment, said: “Lidl confirmed that it has concluded the acquisition of the site from North Dorset District Council.

“Lidl’s new store on the old cattle market on Christy’s Lane, represents a multi-million pound investment in the local area.

“The supermarket will feature facilities including an instore bakery, customer toilets and ample parking for both cars and bicycles.

"This development will secure the regeneration of this high profile site and provide much-needed facilities for the town.

"Lidl UK are firmly committed to helping boost the local economy by creating new jobs and working with local suppliers in the construction of the new store."

Shaftesbury West ward councillor Derek Beer called on the local authority to secure car parking use on the site "during the planning, consultation, and construction cycle" of the supermarket.

In response, Cllr Roake said: "Lidl will be shortly confirming a date for their public consultation day when they will outline their plans for the new store.

"There will be the opportunity to speak with the Lidl team, their agents and advisors to raise those concerns with Lidl's team as mentioned in the question from Cllr Beer.

"Do not lose this one-off opportunity. I would urge you to be bold and creative."

The cattle market in Shaftesbury, which had been operating since 1955, ran for the final time earlier this month. The site had been leased to Southern Counties Auctioneers since 1967.