THE demolition of a disused Amesbury supermarket, set to be transformed into retirement homes, is due to start in April.

Developers McCarthy and Stone are building 33 apartments on the site of the former Co-op store, which has stood empty for the last seven years.

Preparatory work on the site, including fencing off former car parks on both sides of the old shop, has already taken place.

The scheme was granted planning permission in September and will see the building transformed into flats, with up to three shops at ground level.

Building work is expected to be completed by the autumn, with the first residents due to move in next year.

Salisbury-based commercial property consultancy Myddelton & Major has been instructed to let the retail space.

Simon Lee, Myddelton & Major’s retail expert, said: “With the 33 retirement living apartments being built above and behind the retail space from April, we anticipate keen interest from retailers who want to maximise the commercial opportunities presented by the new residential development. “The mixed use of this development will work well together to improve the potential for increasing the trading prospects for the whole town.”

Co-op was widely criticised by Amesbury residents for allowing the old store to become an eyesore.

Graffiti, litter and vandalism were constant problems and it was felt the empty shop held back the development of Amesbury town centre, which is trying to attract more tourists. Geoff Player, director of commercial & investment property at The Co-operative Estates, said: “The sale is a significant step forward for everyone in Amesbury, breathing new life into the heart of the town centre and revitalising an important site which given the economic climate has remained empty for longer than we would have hoped.”