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By Nigel Slater Tuesday 20 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 14:15
MARKS and Spencer could be returning to Evesham after the retail giant submitted plans for a new store.
Up to 60 jobs would be created at the M&S Simply Food store which is being proposed for one of the empty units at Evesham Shopping Park on Worcester Road.
A planning application has now been sent to Wychavon District Council proposing a 9,000 sq ft store.
The town's previous Marks and Spencer Simply Food store, located in the Riverside Shopping centre, closed its doors three years ago despite pleas from shoppers, the district and the town council.
The application follows early discussions with Evesham Market Town Partnership and a public consultation which was held in Evesham Town Hall back in July.
The results of the consultation showed huge support for its return with nearly 95 per cent of the 218 visitors backing the early proposals.
Chris Fry, regional director for LaSalle Investment Management, said: "We know from the public consultation that there is overwhelming support from residents for a new M&S Simply Food store at Evesham Shopping Park.
"A Simply Food in Evesham will give residents who currently travel to Stratford-upon-Avon, Worcester and Cheltenham to buy food at M&S greater convenience.
"The new store will also be a vote of confidence in the future of Evesham."
Evesham resident Helen Donovan, who helped set up a Facebook group supporting the plans titled Bring Marks And Spencer's Back to Evesham, said she was delighted things were moving forward.
"There are a few empty units at Evesham Shopping Park and I can't think of anyone better than Marks and Spencer to put in it," she told the Observer.
"It was a real shame when we lost the last store but hopefully its return will help bring more people to the town and increase trade as well."
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