By Rob George 19/07 Updated: 26/07 11:47
HIGH STREET giant Marks and Spencer could be set for a sensational return to the Vale after the retailer unveiled plans for a public consultation in the town next week.
Evesham shoppers have been invited to have their say on M&S's possible return at the town hall from 11am to 7pm next Friday (July 27).
Local retailers have also been urged to join residents to have their say for or against the plans at the event which will see representatives from landowners British Land and M&S Simply Foods on hand to explain the proposals.
The retailer favours a new store at Evesham Shopping Park and have been encouraged to contact local traders to ensure they can play their part in the process.
Any new store would mark a huge boost to the town just over three years after the Marks and Spencer Simply Food store in the Riverside Shopping Centre closed its doors despite pleas from shoppers, the district and town councils.
Evesham Market Town Partnership Manager, Shawn Riley, said: "The Chairman of Evesham Market Town Partnership, Coun Gerry O’Donnell, and I have met with M&S on a number of occasions and we are pleased that our efforts to show that Evesham’s customer base is strong enough to justify higher value stores are reigniting interest in the town.
"We would prefer M&S to consider a site within the town centre especially as Wychavon District Council has been so responsive in proposing sites under its control as potential alternative locations in line with its policy for promoting town centres and supporting Evesham’s bid to be a Portas Pilot.
"Planning restrictions at Evesham Shopping Park currently prohibit food retailing therefore securing planning permission for change of use will not be straight forward," he added.
Mr Riley also stressed there would be an opportunity to back or oppose the development if Marks and Spencer went on to submit a planning application for change of use.
Clem Constantine, Director of Property at M&S, said: "Over the past year, we have reviewed the trading situation in Evesham and feel that Evesham shopping park provides the ideal conditions to open a Simply Food store.
"The 9,000sq ft selling space will offer our customers the very best of M&S food, together with the creation of approximately 60 new local jobs," he added.
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