The final block of the new John Lewis store was laid in a topping out ceremony Chelmsford's Bond Street development today - a year to the day construction began.

The topping out ceremony marked the moment the final block of the new store's structure was lifted and secured into place.

Brentwood Live:

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Erin Handley, 11, and Louis Sylvester, 11, from Chelmsford Cathedral School presented a time capsule filled with items created or chosen by their fellow pupils, including a school tie, photographs and video footage of their school and the city as it is today, Lego bricks and coins, and letters written by the pupils to friends in the future.

Brentwood Live:

During the ceremony speeches were made by Tim Harrison, the director or store development at John Lewis, Tony Chambers, the chairman of the project developer Aquila, Chelmsford Mayor Paul Hutchinson and chairman of Essex County Council Norman Hume.

Mr Chambers said: "It's actually one year to the day that we started in the construction of this project and I think it is just amazing what you can do in a year. 

"Today is a very special day for us it's the beginning of a countdown to the completion of us opening John Lewis."

Speaking to the crowd, which included local councillors, MP Sir Simon Burns  and representatives from the developer Aquila and John Lewis, Mr Hutchinson said: "This is a great day for Chelmsford. 

"The transformation in the space of just one year is phenomenal. I often walk past here and can't believe the speed that the building is going up. 

"It has a knock on effect for the rest of Chelmsford; we know that the High Street will be improved, we see our other shopping centres improving the quality of what they have to offer and our individual stores as well. 

"So we gain not only just this huge prestigious John Lewis store as well, the other stores you referred to and a new cinema, which I believe is going to be of quite a luxurious standard, but of course the town centre itself is benefitting.

"We can see around Chelmsford so much is going on at the moment, thousands of new homes are being built, new business centres are being created, so many parts of Chelmsford have cranes up where development is going on and this really is going to be, as far as the town centre is concerned, the crown of the city centre."

Speaking on behalf of John Lewis, Mr Harrison said: "I'd like to say we do a topping out every week but it's a very rare event for John Lewis.  This will be our 47th and will be a really stunning shop. 

"We are really pleased to be coming to Chelmsford, it's target location I've been after for a very long time."

He added: "Bond Street will play a central role in Chelmsford's future. 

"Twelve months ago we celebrated work beginning on the shop and we are excited to come back one year on to celebrate the milestone. 

"2016 is set to be  a landmark year for everybody here today."

Brentwood Live:

The £18 million John Lewis store, which is part of the new Bond Street retail development, is set to offer about 300 new jobs and covers a floor area of 33,400m sq - the same space as four Premier League football pitches.

The John Lewis store  and the rest of the Bond Street development is expected to open in the autumn.