WORK is starting on an expansion to ITV's Coronation Street set in Trafford.

The Weatherfield Precinct will include maisonettes and a piazza, plus shop units and other units.

Construction on the site, which is an extension to the set on Trafford Wharf Road, will start this week and it will take around six months to be completed.

It comes as Coronation Street, the longest running soap opera in the world and the most watched soap opera in the UK, moves to one-hour episodes in an 8pm time slot, instead of half-hour episodes at 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

The programme's production designer, Rosie Mullins-Hoyle, said: "We are extremely excited to be starting to build Weatherfield Precinct this week after a year of technical drawings, model making, visualising and planning.

"An incredible amount of research has been carried out focusing on 1960s local architecture and we are striving to create an authentic area of Weatherfield with a grittier vibe to the existing street that we know and love."

Weatherfield Precinct is not a new idea, with characters on Coronation Street referring to it in conversation in the past.

But the construction is seen as a chance for scriptwriters to take the programme further from its all too familiar cobbles.

Iain MacLeod, Coronation Street’s series producer, said: "I am really excited to be expanding the Coronation Street universe.

"The plans for the shopping area are drawn directly from the real-world Salford environs that inspired the show’s creator Tony Warren, and exemplify the authenticity and ambition we still prize as we move to hour-long episodes this week."

The last significant expansion of the programme's set was in 2018, when Victoria Street was added with Victoria Gardens, Weatherfield tram stop and an extension to Weatherfield police station.

Other additions to the set, which moved to Trafford Wharf Road in 2014, included George Shuttleworth's funeral parlour, Speed Daal and Trim Up North.