WORK has started on building the landmark John Lewis at home and Waitrose store in Basingstoke.

Contractors Bowmer and Kirkland – who were appointed by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and their Basing View development partner, Muse Developments – will be putting up fencing around the land and setting up their site offices for the project.

Over the coming months, they will focus on ground works that are needed to pave the way for the building that will house the new 47,5000 sq ft John Lewis at home and the 25,000 sq ft Waitrose food store and cafe.

The other main area of the first stage of the project work is the construction of a stretch of road through Basing View.

To allow the new road to be built, two footpaths linking the station to Basing View will be re-routed for several months and there will also be temporary road closures.

Pedestrians will be affected from this week as the first footpath closure is implemented, meaning the footpath across the nearby open car park will be closed off.

In two to three weeks, an additional footpath which runs from the railway station and along the Network Rail car park, will be closed for six months and an alternative route will be opened via Eastrop Roundabout.

Construction work on the 73,000 sq ft retail development site is set to continue until late 2015.

The multi-million pound development at Basing View, which is only the second combined John Lewis at home and Waitrose store in the country, will provide a welcome boost to Basingstoke’s economy, delivering 330 jobs.

Councillor John Izett, cabinet member for property, finance and commissioning, said: “This is an important new investment in our borough.

“The stores will attract more people and more businesses to Basing View, and generate extra leisure and retail expenditur.

“I am confident that the development will bring huge spin-off benefits, not least a gross value addition to the economy of the town of around £4.5million per annum.”

He added: “Attracting such a high-profile retailer to this gateway site, combined with the construction of the 150,000 sq ft Network Rail campus making good progress at the eastern end, shows the growing confidence in Basing View’s future success.”