THE displays are polished, the lights are on and the tills are at the ready.

After years in the planning and months of construction Vangarde shopping park is set to open on Thursday.

The park's new John Lewis store, along with the Marks and Spencer and Next shops, will all open their doors to customers for the first time at 9am and crowds are expected as John Lewis - the first in North Yorkshire and the chain's only store between Sheffield and Newcastle - finally opens for business years after the plans were first mooted.

The company's Gavin Smith said: "We are expecting footfall to be in the thousands, one estimate puts it at around 5000 but this is the first time we have opened a store with footfall counters installed so it will be interesting to see the numbers."

A dedicated "John Lewis Occupation" team has been on site preparing the store and bringing stock into place for the last 12 days, and the team's leader Gavin was set to formally hand over to store manager Robert Garnish, after a painstaking two cays checking every one of the 2354 shop fittings and 3350 pieces of stock.

At Marks and Spencer there will be special opening day entertainment including chef demonstrations, an in-store DJ and the chance to win a share of £1,000 in M&S Gift Cards.

Marks and Spencer's Monks Cross shop will close for the last time Wednesday evening Coppergate branch closes on April 26, while it's Simply Food Monks Cross store will remain open .

Next's existing Monk's Cross store already closed for the final time on Saturday.

The cafes and restaurants on the Vangarde site - Costa Coffee, Nandos, Prezzo, Giraffe, Frankie and Benny's and Ed's Easy Diner - are all set to open in May.