Probably the last major change in the main street in Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure (to give it its full name!) occurred when the town was by-passed about 15 years ago and the regional traffic, including countless massive lorries, travelling on the route between Angouleme and Limoges, was thankfully removed from the busy local scene! That was until 31 August last year, when Lidl started the contract to replace their local store. Basic, even by Lidl standards, with minimal parking, the old store was squeezed in between two larger buildings.
The Briconautes builder's merchants had been purchased and on that day, the demolition work began to enlarge the area available for a new Lidl store.
The official approval!
Taken on 28 September, this photo shows that the old store is still open, still bringing in customers and money, while the demolishers struggle with the old reinforced concrete framed three storey builder's merchant premises next door.
The demolition site on the same date, showing that everything had gone except............
On 11 October, with demolition done, the earthworks close to the main street was proceeding well. The benign weather was helping the contractor keep to his programme, as can be seen from the blue skies in these photos.
The scene on 2 November, showing that the old store had been demolished (it closed in late October) and the base hardcore for the new building and parking area already in place.
By 14 November, the building frame was already well advanced. Much of this was pre-cast and brought to site in sections.
Another shot on the same day, showing how much of the building is pre-fabricated for speed of construction!
This photo, almost 2 weeks later, on 25 November shows how much fill material had to be brought in to raise the levels of the car park at the back of the site.
By 7 December, still under sunny skies, work continued with the installation of insulation to the external walls. The new parking area is on the left.
By 30 January, the tarmac surfacing to the car park had been laid, and the shopfronts with automatic sliding doors were in place.
On the same day, a photo showing the part of the parking area to the front of the store. Parking spaces provided have increased dramatically. At the old store, there were perhaps 30, now it's more like 200 and most of them are occupied during trading hours by enthusiastic shoppers!
On 23 February, the day before opening, the signs were up and the whole site was full of workmen carrying out final testing and rectification of any defects.
24 February, opening day. A fairly new Lidl speciality, an on-site bakery! This will no doubt have an effect on the businesses of the 4 bakers already trading in the town.
A view of the checkouts, plenty in number and capacity but staff, as usual, busy working around the store! One checkout operates in quieter periods, but when there is a rush of customers, public address announcements give notice that additional tills are open. This procedure seems to work well and undue delays are avoided.
Decorative rough gravel paving next to the main street. Not very pretty, but its aim is to discourage people from walking on it, especially ladies in high heels!
The view today, showing the change in the streetscape - see first photo to compare! The opening of this new state of the art Lidl store has prompted the other major supermarket in town, just to the right of this shot, where the white arrow points, to raise its game and carry out its own store improvements!