SHOPPERS will believe it when they see it, but Surrey Heath Council hopes Camberley's new-look town centre will now be ready by Christmas 2005.

With renewed optimism, the council has drawn up yet another timetable for redeveloping the car park site to the west of Park Street.

Nicholson Estates, the latest developer chosen by the council to carry out the work, is due to submit a planning application this spring.

Residents will then be given an opportunity to comment on the blueprint, expected to include a mix of shops, leisure facilities and homes.

The council hopes to be able to give the multi-million pound scheme the go-ahead in the autumn, with the road closure process to start soon after.

If everything goes according to plan, building work on the seven-acre site will start in the Spring of next year.

The scheme is the latest attempt by the council to develop the land which it purchased in the mid-1980s for £18-million.

Councillors thought their dream had come true in 2001 when they gave Developer THI the go-ahead to build a £60-million shops and leisure centre.

But in April that year the company went bust, leaving the council to search for yet another developer.

Throughout the saga the site has been used as a car park, earning it the label "the most expensive in Europe".