THE new traffic island and lights system was given its first test when hundreds of people arrived for the opening of the Asda store in Hereford.

Most of the 500 parking spaces at the £30 million development were taken by the time the doors opened on Monday morning. And for the rest of the day traffic queues reflected the huge interest in Asda's arrival.

Some of the 400 staff at the superstore dressed as characters from the pantomime Dick Whittington to greet shoppers on the first morning.

The opening was performed by the Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Robert Preece and Jo Baker - Hereford Times competition winner - who founded the charity Megan Baker House in 2001 following the death of her daughter Megan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. The charity works in the community to help people with disabilities that affect mobility.

Asda, part of the American-owned Wall Mart chain, says that most of the staff have been recruited from the local area.

As well as the store, there is a health and community centre and a bowling club and green on the site.