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Boost for jobs as new store is approved
A NEW Marks & Spencer Simply Food store will open in Evesham later this year.
Wychavon District Coun-cil’s planning committee approved the application for the new store at Evesham Shopping Park, Worcester Road, at their meeting last week.
Twelve members voted in favour with only one against the proposals which had attracted 15 letters of support and six objections from members of the public and other groups including the Evesham Civic Society.
The new shop, which will be situated between JD Sports and Pound Stretcher on the shopping park located on the outskirts of Evesham, is set to open in the autumn and will create about 60 jobs.
M&S Simply Food previously had a store in the town centre at the Riverside Shopping Centre but closed it down four years ago saying the location was not right.
While councillors were keen to see the store return to Evesham, some were concerned it will not be in the town centre.
Councillor Frances Smith, Evesham ward member, said: “While I welcome M&S returning to Evesham I’m nonetheless disappointed that they are not returning within the centre of Evesham.
“M&S are a very popular company and it was quite obvious when they were in the shopping centre that was so.
“We are all worried about Evesham town centre as we are about other town centres around the county. While it’s good to have M&S back in Evesham it should be in the centre.”
Coun Jo Sandalls, fellow ward member, said the plans would have a positive effect on Evesham.
“It will provide employment for local people and is likely to encourage other high profile retailers back to the town and boost the economy,” she said.
Craig Blatchford, agent for M&S, said results from the public consultation showed “clear support from the majority of residents to see M&S return to Evesham”.
The retail chain has also agreed that it will make a contribution of £95,000 towards measures and sche-mes which will promote Evesham town centre as part of a legal agreement.