Keen shoppers queued outside the door waiting for the new M&S Simply Food on Leeds Road to open this week.
The long-awaited development welcomed customers for the first time yesterday (Wednesday June 25), almost two years after planning permission was first granted to bulldoze the former Nidd Vale garage.
First through the doors on M&S’s big day were Judith Atkinson and Linda Stockton who were greeted by store manager Andrea Watson.
Mrs Watson, who lives within walking distance of the new 12,00 square feet shop said: “It is great to finally invite customers, many of which are members of my own local community, into the store.”
The building work on the store has been blighted with traffic chaos as a new road layout was put in place to cope with the expected volume of visitors to the supermarket.
Nearby business owners complained that the traffic delays, which saw over a mile of queuing cars at its worst, had led to a fall in trade.
The Oatlands Committee handed petitions to both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council, complaining about the council’s handling of the problems.
M&S have held talks with the committee and Mrs Watson said she hopes to continue to work with other local businesses.
She said: “I’m looking forward to working in partnership with residents, customers and businesses to deliver a vibrant shopping parade on Leeds Road, as well as getting started on our fundraising activity for our charity of the year.”
The 50 new employees at M&S Food have chosen Harrogate District Hospital as the store’s charity of the year.
Funds raised will be shared between the hospital’s new cancer unit and Dementia service. M&S employees will be raising money to help the hospital purchase infusion pumps for cancer patients and memory boxes, photo books and decade themed pop up rooms for Dementia patients.