WALLINGFORD’S new Lidl is expected to open in January.

That means the long-running push to open a second supermarket in the town could come to a successful end in as little as two months.

Some had hoped that the store, currently being developed on a 2.86 acre site in Hithercroft industrial estate, might be open before Christmas, but Lidl has said that its plans to open in early 2019 have not changed.

The Herald understands that the new outlet is set to be complete by February.

Wallingford Mayor Lee Upcraft said: "I’m really excited about the prospect of Lidl opening in town as it’s going to give some much needed choice for people who want to shop locally.

"They’re really putting together the new store a cracking pace and I hope they don’t keep us waiting too much longer.”

Promised in the German discount store is an in-store bakery, longer-style tills with dual packing, customer toilet, baby changing facilities and parking for cars and bicycles.

The market town currently only has a Waitrose, despite a prolonged ‘will-they-won’t-they’ saga over whether Morrisons would come to Wallingford, but the chain pulled out of a deal for a new superstore.

Councillor Adrian Lloyd, who is chairman of the Wallingford Town Council’s planning committee, welcomed the move.

He said: “It is bringing a supermarket to Wallingford and more importantly an affordable supermarket.

“Despite perceptions of it being a rich town, within the area around Wallingford we have over 1,000 people who use the food bank.

“One in 16 people are reliant on the food bank, so a bringing a cheaper supermarket to Wallingford is excellent. The town council fully supports it.”

Mr Lloyd also revealed that the council was hoping to put in a second track at nearby Cholsey Railway station to allow for a bigger turning circle, but that this was reliant on Lidl changing its plans.

He explained: “We hope they will move their fence so a second track can be put in at the railway.”

Lidl did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Upon beginning granted permission to start building, the company’s regional head of property,Jeremy Lee said: “We could not be more delighted to have received planning permission, and look forward to getting started on construction. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support, and very much look forward to opening our doors and offering our fresh, quality, great value products in the not too distant future.”

It has also previously said the store would provide around 150 parking spaces, while a number of jobs are being advertised ahead of the store’s opening.

In 2013, Morrisons was given planning permission to build a new supermarket on the same site, off Hithercroft Road, but the chain did not go ahead with the proposal after councillors agreed the store should be built to a high design standard.

Councillors have previously said that the town desperately needs more shopping facilities given the projected growth in the town’s population.

Elsewhere, Lidl are planning to build a new store in Grove, with a decision expected to be made by the end of the year.

Some residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic around the site on Grove Road.