Retail giant Marks and Spencer wants to move back to Grantham.
The company has submitted a planning application for an M&S Simply Food store at the former Currys unit in Grantham Retail Park on London Road.
When contacted by the Journal, a spokesman for M&S said: “We can confirm we have submitted an application to bring an M&S Simply Food store to Grantham. We are keen to return to the area and hope to reveal more details soon.”
If - as expected - planning permission is granted, the new store would create around 50 full and part-time jobs. The plans include a cafe and space to sell non-food goods on the premises.
The retailer left its High Street store in 2010. That is now occupied by discount retailer Boyes.
The proposed new location, at virtually 1,400 sq metres, is almost double the size of the old one and has extensive free parking.
M&S has applied for a return, citing this store having a direct focus on food sales, the benefits of locating near other major retailers and an “appropriate level” of 160 car parking spaces.
News of the planning application was welcomed with delight at South Kesteven District Council, which has seen its growth plans for Grantham accelerated rapidly in the last six months. Council leader Councillor Linda Neal commented: “This is a very welcome and signifcant application that, if successful, could give Grantham and South Kesteven a boost that will attract more consumers and, potentially, other buinesses to the town.
“A retailer of this stature wishing to return to the town shows they can see the potential of Grantham’s growth plans. There is an untapped customer base that exists in the town and we hope many more business of this calibre follow.
“Following news of the proposed multiplex on St Catherine’s Road, 2014 has the potential to be a very positive year. We are committed to making the town more attractive to investors and this application shows big business is very aware of the upward direction we are striving to take the town economically.”
Portfolio holder for grow the economy, Councillor Frances Cartwright said: “It’s very good news for Grantham. A successful application would give us a landmark retailer that will help us on our journey to make the town fulfill it potential as a retail centre.
“We know there is much work to do, but this is a positive indicator of a prominent national retailer acknowledging Grantham is still very much a place to trade.”
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