AFTER two years of anticipation campers descended on Calcot last night to make sure they were the first shoppers through the door of the new Ikea.

Opening its doors for the first time at 9.30am this morning the £10m two-storey store has attracted home improvement fans from as far afield as Southampton.

Country Retail Manager at Ikea Ltd UK & Ireland, Gillian Drakeford, said: "This is a very special occasion for every body. There were many, many people involved in the process that helped us get to where we are today.

"When I walk through this store and see all the home furnishing we will be selling to the people of Reading I feel incredibly proud."

Jo Norton from Bracknell was one of the first people through the door.

The care officer said: “I used to go the one in Southampton. It is nice to have one closer to home."

Helen Smith, 40, from Newbury said: "I am happy there will be a discount furniture close to home. I used to go to Southampton occasionally. I am so excited IKEA is here."

Despite major rebuilding works for the junction leading to the A4 and temporary signs along both the A4 and M4 40 traffic guards have been drafted in to keep Calcot moving.

Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading Store Manager, said: "We want all of our customers to have an enjoyable shopping experience and have worked hard to create a thorough traffic management plan to minimise traffic disruptions that may occur over this opening period

"We will have 40 traffic guards and spotters positioned in and around our car park and at various points along Pincents Lane who will work continuously to optimise the traffic flow in and out of the store.

"In addition to this we will maintain close contact with local police who are responsible for managing traffic on the nearby highway.

"While we hope to see many people down at our store opening, we'd like to remind everyone that there are no specific opening offers on our products and our opening celebrations and in-store activities will continue throughout July and August."

They are asking for shoppers to travel to the store by bus with Blue 15 service stopping a 5 minute walk from the store. From Sunday July 24, the yellow 26 and blue 15 routes will extend to the store.

Garth Simpson, executive member for highways on West Berkshire Council, said: "We know there is a great deal of interest in the new store and that many residents will be keen to visit once it opens this week.

"Our highways team have been planning for an increase in traffic in the area and with a new road junction, road markings and temporary signage there is plan in place to minimise congestion in the area.

"However, it is still likely to be busier than usual and motorists should allow plenty of time if they intend to visit the new store."

So far traffic out of Reading and along the main roads seems no heavier than usual for a Thursday morning.

Are you going to the store? Tell us what you think in the comments below.