BOSSES of discount food store giant Lidl have given assurances to Pickering Town Council that they are to proceed with a long-awaited development near the town centre.

The scheme has been at the centre of a long-running wrangle between local authorities and the company which won planning approval following an appeal over a year ago for the development at the junction of the A170 and Vivis Lane on a prime site, formerly the town’s coal yard.

Town councillors protested after the unused site became a temporary car park last October, and Ryedale District Council took legal action.

Two Lidl executives attended the recent town council meeting when they told councillors that work on the new store would begin in 2013. They said it had been delayed until now because of a restrictive covenant on the site.

“We have invested a seven-figure sum in this site and development,” said senior Lidl officer, Chris Blyth.

Coun Mal Danks said that Lidl would not now have to pay for the covenant being lifted as a result of the scheme not starting in 2012.

Deputy mayor Coun Sue Cowan told the Lidl officers: “People are anxious to see your store built.

“There have been complaints about it being used as a car park.”