A NEW supermarket has been announced as the retail anchor for the redevelopment of the old prison site in North Yorkshire's county town.

The popular and fast-growing Lidl chain will take a 21,000 sq ft unit - and bring up to 40 new jobs to the area.

The multi-million pound investment will be the key element of the first phase of the redevelopment of the now-demolished Northallerton prison into a complex to be known as Treadmills which will also feature another 6,000 sq ft retail unit and parking for around 130 vehicles.

A detailed planning application for the first phase is expected to be submitted this summer and, subject to planning approval, construction is likely to begin early next year with the Lidl store due to open by late 2019.

The scheme forms part of Lidl’s continued expansion across the UK which has seen it open more than 700 stores and a network of regional distribution centres, employing a total of more than 22,000 people.

Hambleton District Council and Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group have formed the Central Northallerton Development Company to drive forward the North Yorkshire town’s most significant regeneration scheme for decades.

As well as the major stores, the £16m scheme will include independent retail units, managed workspaces, restaurants, a cinema, an area for public events and a heritage centre within the 3.5-acre former prison site.

The scheme is seen as a way of regenerating a large brownfield site and delivering a major boost to the local economy as well as bringing new community assets and facilities to the town.

Five listed former prison buildings will be refurbished and incorporated into the Treadmills scheme – the name reflects that the jail was once home to the world’s largest treadmill and several other treadwheels which were used by inmates sentenced to hard labour.

Wykeland's head of development Jonathan Stubbs said: “We’re delighted to have secured one of Europe’s leading food retailers for Treadmills. Lidl is a highly popular brand and has identified this scheme as ideal for their successful format.

“Lidl’s commitment is a major step forward for the project and we believe local residents will welcome the quality, value and additional choice it will offer to shoppers.

“This announcement reflects the very strong interest we are seeing as we develop the commercial opportunities available and work with our partners at Hambleton District Council to realise the ambitious vision for this exciting redevelopment.”

Lidl UK’s regional head of property David Murphy said: “We are delighted to be bringing a new store in Northallerton, which marks another milestone in our ambitious store expansion programme. We’ve seen incredible demand for Lidl stores across the country and look forward to offering our quality products and incredible value to shoppers in and around Northallerton.”

Northallerton Prison housed prisoners for more than 230 years before closing in 2013. Hambleton District Council bought the site from the Ministry of Justice the following year.