THERE was a huge queue as the first new supermarket in Ulverston for 25 years was opened.

Customers at Aldi, the first site to open at the £11m Beehive Business Park on Thomas Way, were welcomed by store manager Greg Matthews at the unveiling.

Shopper Michael Hartley said having the store was ‘like the 21st century coming in’ to Ulverston.

“I don’t drive...there are a lot of people in town, like the old folk, who don’t drive,” he said.

“I think it’s positive. I don’t think the shopkeepers will see it that way but I think it is. It’s modernising the town isn’t it?”

Ulverston mayor Cllr Sharon Webster said the Beehive Business Park looked ‘fantastic’ and would bring jobs to the town.

“I am sure it will prove very popular,” she said.

“We hope the Beehive will bring people into Ulverston from the surrounding area and encourage more local people to shop here.

“In the wake of the coronavirus it is more important than ever that people are encouraged to enjoy everything Ulverston has to offer.

“Traders in the town and the council are working hard to ensure people will be safe as lockdown eases, and the cheaper parking initiative - 50p for the first hour and £1 for two hours - should give us another boost once the free parking during the pandemic comes to an end.”

Aldi was not short of customers when it opened for the first time on Thursday, with a number of people happily saying they would no longer need to travel all the way to Barrow for their shopping.

“Ulverston’s needed a supermarket for a long time - personally, I normally go down to Barrow, so it’s saved me a trip on the bus,” said shopper Steven Haddow.

“I’ll still patronise the little shops but I think this’ll be great.”

Carla Burgess said: “It’s brilliant. Well-organised, well-stacked. A lot of safety measures in place.

“We’ve got nice food shops but they are expensive, like Booths, so for people that can’t afford to go in the expensive food shops, you’ve got an option.”

Philip Shead, who was shopping with partner Chelsea, an Aldi area manager, said: “Price wise it’s really competitive. It has a lot of options and a lot of choice. Probably more than you anticipate.

“It’s a lot more spacious as well. Brighter. Even the floors are different. It’s got a Marks & Spencer feel.”

Brian Scott, of Rawdon Property Group, the development firm behind the Beehive Business Park, said: “Encouraging more local people to do their main shopping in Ulverston rather than travelling to Barrow, and attracting people from the surrounding communities such as Dalton, Coniston and Grange has to be good for the local economy.”

Ian Threadgold, North West managing director for contractor Caddick Construction, said the company had been ‘delighted’ to work on ‘such an important and high-profile project for Ulverston’.