Demolition will begin next month to make way for the long awaited Tesco development in Dartford.

It is hoped the latest news in the 12-year saga will help to regenerate Lowfield Street which has many boarded up old businesses.

The supermarket's development, which was approved last September, has been scaled down from 900 homes suggested in 2008 to 34 one-bed and 73 two-bed flats.

It is believed the building work, which will also include 8,000 square metres of retail space, will take around 16 months to complete.

Demolition will take place in the east side of Lowfield Street including numbers 26 to 142, where there are many boarded up shops.

The oldest privately owned shop in the town and one of the few in the street not bought out by Tesco, Richardsons and Sons butchers, closed in February.

A company spokesman told News Shopper: "We have submitted pre-commencement plans to the council and are looking to begin demolition work towards the end of July.

"We look forward to moving forward with the scheme and will keep the local community updated with our progress."

News Shopper: Osmon and Ray Hussein outside their dry cleaning shop in Lowfield Street

Businesses and residents have been divided by the arrival of the supermarket chain.

Osman Hussein is manager of Dartford Dry Cleaners, which is based in Lowfield Street.

He said: "I’m not sure it will regenerate the area but we are looking forward to it being built.

"For us, it’s basically about the extra flats which should increase footfall to businesses like ours. 

"More than anything we just want it to be built now because it’s been such a long time.

"It’s just a matter of doing it as quickly as possibly. It’s taken almost 12 years."

Dartford Councillors have also proposed to convert rights to light into compensation to help speed up the development - this would mean properties whose light is affected by the new building can apply for cash.

Council leader Councillor Jeremy Kite said: "The people of Dartford have every right to be angry with the time the Tesco development has taken to proceed but this week's decision shows we are on the last lap before work finally gets underway."