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Hundreds of shoppers queued up to get their hands on a bargain at the new Asda Gillingham Pier store at Chatham Waters

Shoppers have reported chaotic scenes at the new Asda store in Gillingham.

Traffic issues have left drivers trapped in the car park, some unable even to pull out of their parking spaces.

The shop at Gillingham Pier opened earlier today, prompting a long queue to form outside. 

Many shoppers were stuck in the car park. Picture: Kiran Reardon
Many shoppers were stuck in the car park. Picture: Kiran Reardon

Hundreds of keen shoppers joined a queue to get inside the eagerly awaited store, the 600th Asda supermarket to open in the UK.

But later things appear to have turned ugly.

An eyewitness said tempers were fraying as shoppers trapped in the car park began arguing amongst themselves.

Traffic lights outside the shop are believed to be to blame, as too few cars released from the car park led to vehicles backing up.

About ten Asda staff were reported to be directing traffic, as well as apologising to irate customers. 

The sheer number of people visiting the store is also thought to have contributed to the chaos. 

A shopper inside described it as "rammed."

Corinne Howard, 9, opened the store and was joined by Rehman Chishti MP and store manager, Chris Fawn and community champion Rosie Smith
Corinne Howard, 9, opened the store and was joined by Rehman Chishti MP and store manager, Chris Fawn and community champion Rosie Smith

Earlier today staff at the store gave away hot food and drinks to those who had got there early.

Rob Griffin, who is from St Mary’s Island was first in the queue and arrived just after 8am.

Mr Griffin, pictured, was the first through the tills too and bought his mum a bunch of flowers to mark the occasion.

Rob Griffin from St Mary's Island, Chatham, was the first in the queue
Rob Griffin from St Mary's Island, Chatham, was the first in the queue

He said: “I just love Asda. I’ve been waiting since just after 8am.”

The supermarket was officially opened by St Mary’s Island pupil, Corinne Howard, nine.

Corinne had been chosen to open the store after winning a competition to design a bag for life which can only be purchased exclusively at the store.

Asda community champion Rosie Smith with Gillingham MP Rehman Chishti and bag for life designer, Corrine Howard, 9.
Asda community champion Rosie Smith with Gillingham MP Rehman Chishti and bag for life designer, Corrine Howard, 9.

More than 300 jobs have been created at the new 73,000 sq ft shop which opened at 10am today.

The town’s MP, Rehman Chishti was also at the opening chatting to staff and admitted he would be using the store to shop as he lives close by.

Hundreds of shoppers lined up outside the store waiting for Corinne to officially cut the ribbon so they could get inside to start shopping.

Gillingham Pier store manager, Chris Fawn with the town's MP Rehman Chishti
Gillingham Pier store manager, Chris Fawn with the town's MP Rehman Chishti

The supermarket will be open every day from 7am to 11pm and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

It also has a petrol station, which is open 24 hours a day, and motorists were eager to fill up as the new shop has already started a price war on fuel.

The pay-at-pump filling station is selling unleaded at 108.7p and diesel at 106.7p and has undercut the Esso Service Station in New Road, Chatham, which is regularly the cheapest.

Corinne Howard, 9, who designed the bag for life which is only on sale at the new Gillingham Pier Asda store
Corinne Howard, 9, who designed the bag for life which is only on sale at the new Gillingham Pier Asda store

The supermarket also features a George clothing section, an optician, a fish counter and a create your own pizza counter as well as a cafe where shoppers can pick up a hot pizza for just £5.

Chris Fawn, store manager, said: “It’s fantastic to open and we want to bring something different to Gillingham for shoppers.”

Asda has been contacted for comment.


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