WORK has started on a £60 million scheme to redevelop Farnborough's run down shopping centre.

The town's former post office is being demolished to make way for four large shops with 24 one-bedroom flats above.

Flattening the site is due to be finished in time for building work to start early in the New Year, with completion in the autumn.

The Queensgate project represents the first phase of the scheme to redevelop the Queensmead and Kingsmead shopping centres which were built in the 1960s.

Next in line is the construction of a nine-screen multiplex cinema, and a Sainsbury superstore is also included in the blueprint.

Simon Rutter, of St Modwen Properties plc, said last Friday: "The start on Queensgate marks a significant step forward in the massive programme to put Farnborough firmly back on the retail map."

He added that positive discussions were taking place with a national cinema operator which had confirmed its interest in running the multiplex.

If everything goes according to plan, then it is hoped that the new look shopping centre, which will include 45 shops, will be completed in about three years time. The scheme is being backed by Salhia Real Estate Co. in conjunction St Modwen Properties plc and Key Property Investments Ltd.