A HUGE do-it-yourself store, which planners say will attract scores of shoppers to Farnborough, was set to be given the green light last night (Wednesday).

The 160,000 sq ft B & Q store and garden centre is earmarked for the former Solartron works site now owned by J Sainsbury Developments.

After lengthy negotiations with the company, Rushmoor Council planning officials have recommended approval of the proposed development.

Their support for the scheme, due to be considered by the development control committee last night, is a blow to residents living alongside the site in Hinstock Close.

They opposed the application because of fears of traffic and other problems, and called for the site to be retained for offices or light industry.

But at last night's meeting the council development control committee was told in a report that the store would be better suited to the retail surroundings.

It would also provide a welcome boost to Farnborough shopping centre, the report continued.

And by attracting a large number of customers, the store would ensure that Farnborough could "successfully compete with other town centres outside of the borough."

Pedestrian and cycle routes will be provided to allow easy access between the store and the shopping centre.

The building will be two storeys high, with staff accommodation on the first level, and there will be parking for 468 vehicles.Thirty two-bedroom flats, with 41 parking spaces, are also earmarked for the 16-acre site. Sainsbury's said the development, which will replace the existing B & Q Warehouse on the opposite side of the road, represented a significant investment in Farnborough.

"The proposal will offer around 50 to 60 new job opportunities, the vast majority of which will be recruited locally," said the company.

All the staff at the existing B & Q store in Solartron Road will be offered jobs at the new development.

As a condition of the planning permission, the company will have to agree that its delivery lorries will not leave Junction 4A of the M3 and travel through Cove village.

Instead drivers will be told to take the A325 road and into Victoria Road where a service access will be provided.