DOZENS of excited shoppers queued in the rain as they eagerly awaited the opening of Southampton's newest Lidl store.

Equally-excited staff also took the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the new store on Villiers Road, Shirley, on Thursday morning.

The doors were officially flung open at 8am, as shoppers finally got to see inside the supermarket – which has its own in-store bakery.

The new supermarket forms part of the Lidl’s ongoing expansion and regeneration plans in the UK which will see it open up to 50 new stores a year.

Plans for the new Shirley store were given the go-ahead by Southampton City Council in July last year.

Four months earlier, city planning bosses rejected previous proposals over fears the placement of the building would have a negative impact on neighbouring residents.

But Lidl submitted new plans, which included moving the store away from Mayflower Road – a key reason the application was rejected.

The site was previously the home to Shirley Police station, which was shut down and sold in 2014 as part of a county-wide estates review by Hampshire Constabulary aiming to save £50m.