SURREY Heath Council, for what seems the umpteenth time, hopes the expansion of Camberley shopping centre is now in sight.

Weybridge-based Nicholson Estates is the latest company to be given the job of developing the council-owned site west of Park Street.

Desperate to get it right this time, the council chose the company after a painstaking selection process which included seeking the views of 6,000 residents and businesses.

Councillors hope last Thursday's announcement ends a saga which dates back to the mid-1980s when the council bought the seven-acre site.

While development schemes have come and gone, the land has been used as a car park - earning it the label "the most expensive in Europe".

"I am sure we will at long last be able to realise a worthwhile development both for the town centre and the borough as a whole," said Coun. Gordon Parris, executive member for the town centre, when he unveiled the latest scheme.

Nicholson Estates' scheme features a leisure atrium with a multi-screen cinema, 10-pin bowling, restaurants and a health and fitness suite.

Twelve new shops will front onto Park Street to provide a link with the town centre, and 101 new flats will face existing homes in Southern Road and Southwell Park Road.

The company proposes to build a road through the site, running adjacent to Southern Road, and there will be parking for 900 vehicles.

Councillors hope the final blueprint will be published in the autumn, when the public will be given a chance to have their say.

The multi-million pound scheme will then have to be considered for approval by the council's planners.

Nicholson Estates was chosen from a shortlist of four companies interested in developing the car park site.

The search for a new company followed the collapse of the previous developer THI just under two years ago.