Hundreds of people gathered at a Hampshire hotel today as the search for 1,000 jobs at a new multi-million pound shopping centre gets underway.

Queues started building from as early as 8am - two hours before a recruitment bonanza to fill positions at the £84m Whiteley Shopping Centre development opened.

Job seekers queued into the car park at the  Solent Hotel in Whiteleybefore the doors opened..

They will be battling it out for positions in the 50 new shops, restaurants and cafés set to open in the overhauled shopping village, which opens in May.

Top high street names including Clintons, Dean’s Diner, Fat Face, Holland and Barrett and JD Sports are already lined up for the first recruitment day.

There will also be representatives from Next, Starbucks, The Body Shop, The Entertainer, Topshop and Xpress Beauty.

Around 87 per cent of the shopping centre has already been let, with Marks & Spencer, Sports Direct, Paperchase and Mamas & Papas among those to have put pen to paper.

It came about through a partnership of developers called Whiteley Co-Ownership Trust, made up of British Land and USS. The new complex will replace its predecessor, which opened as the region’s first outlet shopping centre in 1999.

The original version was billed as the south coast’s first designer outlet centre with gleaming rows of cut-price fashion luxuries on offer from Dolce & Gabbana to Calvin Klein. But it failed to get off the ground and was eventually torn down in 2011.

The gleaming new version will feature double and triple height glazing and oak panels, centred on a new town square with landscaped spaces and public art.

It will also provide over 1,500 car park spaces with up to three hours’ free parking and free parking after 6pm.

Neil Carter, centre manager, said the recruitment day next week would be a chance for jobhunters to find out more about vacancies.