WORK has at last started on a £50-million scheme to redevelop Farnborough's run down shopping centre.

Bulldozers moved in on Wednesday this week to start demolishing some of the empty shops in the precinct, which dates back to the 1960s.

Their arrival in The Mead has been welcomed by Rushmoor Council, which has been pressing for months for the scheme to commence.

Coun. David Clifford, cabinet member for promotion, said: "This is great news for Farnborough.

"The redevelopment has been a long time coming, but now it has started we will soon see the transformation of the centre."

He promised that the council would keep a close eye on the scheme to ensure there were no further delays.

Council chief executive Andrew Lloyd said it was heartening to see that real progress was at last being made.

"We have recognised for a long time that the town centre has been a major concern for local retailers and residents," he added.

The redevelopment, which has been on the drawing board for almost four years, is being masterminded by Key Property Investments Ltd.

Spokesman Simon Rutter said: "Over the coming months everyone will witness steady and significant progress in the redevelopment of the town centre."

The demolition workers are paving the way for the construction of a large store for JJB Sports, and seven shops, in The Mead.

Costing £1.6-million, this part of the redevelopment is due to be finished by May next year.

Next month work is due to start on the construction of 24 apartments and four shops on the site of the former post office.