IT is the moment they have all been waiting for.

For the first time ever, shoppers visiting Bitterne Precinct will be treated to the sights, sounds and smells of the village’s brand new market.

After months of fighting, Bitterne Village Traders’ Association was finally given the go-ahead in August to stage the weekly market – and tomorrow they will see their vision become a reality.

Association chairman Rod Bennett said the market would transform Bitterne for shoppers and visitors.

Mr Bennett, who runs Card Gallery in the precinct, said: “It is a very proud moment for us.

“We have fought long and hard to get a market in the precinct and finally our vision will be made real.

“It will transform the village into a bustling and vibrant area for shoppers and visitors.”

Previously the group had its hopes dashed when it was told the market could not go ahead because the pedestrianised precinct is technically a registered highway.

But council chiefs reassured members that despite stumbling blocks in the past, the market would go ahead.

“Having a market in the precinct was something we thought was worth fighting for,” Mr Bennett added.

“Now the hope is that the market will be a huge hit in the community, because that is what it is there for.

“We are all very confident that the market is going to be a great success.”

Mr Bennett said plans were in the pipeline to include weekend events in the precinct in the run-up to Christmas.

Royston Smith, Cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, said: “We are very keen to see the Bitterne Village Traders’ Association – and Bitterne itself – prosper and we hope the inclusion of the market will help for that to happen.”

The market will be in the precinct from 9am to 3.30pm, and an official opening ceremony will take place next Wednesday.