M&S makes plans for Foodhall in Alnwick

Marks & Spencer wants to open in Alnwick, as part of a proposed out-of-town development which could create more than 90 jobs.

Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 9:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th May 2018, 3:55 pm
An artist's impression of the proposed new M&S store.

The retail giant has expressed its desire to open a Foodhall at the site, which is planned for land south of Greensfield Industrial Estate.

The company says that it would employ around 30 full-time equivalent members of staff.

The proposed M&S Foodhall from a different angle.

If it gets the green light, the retail park would also house other shopping units, a drive-through coffee-shop and 226 parking spaces.

The application is yet to be decided by Northumberland County Council.

Alnwick town-centre traders have already voiced concerns about the retail-park proposal.

The retail-park application was submitted late last year by planning and development consultancy Lichfields, on behalf of Northumberland Estates.

Colin Barnes, of the Estates, said: “We are delighted to announce that M&S have confirmed its intention to take a unit at this scheme, subject to Northumberland County Council granting planning permission.

“The new Foodhall will be a great addition to the existing range of supermarkets serving Alnwick and the surrounding area.”

The nearest M&S Foodhall to Alnwick is currently situated in the company’s store at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth.

Jonathan Wallace, senior director and head of Lichfields’ Newcastle office, said that the new store would complement the existing foodstore provision within Alnwick itself.

The new M&S Foodhall would comprise around 1,100 square metres of floorspace and would sell a range of Marks & Spencer-branded food produce, as well as ancillary non-food goods, including flowers, plants, stationery and cards.

The Gazette has been told that the county council’s strategic planning committee will consider the proposals on Tuesday, June 5.

If planning permission is granted, then construction should start later this year, with Lichfields saying the whole retail park development has the potential to create around 90 jobs. Other potential retailers have not yet been named.

Last week, the Gazette reported concerns from traders in Alnwick town centre who said that they were not consulted during an impact study.

The independent retail assessment, commissioned by the county council and conducted by Manchester-based Nexus Planning, concludes that the retail park would not lead to a significant adverse impact on existing, committed and planned public and private sector investment.

Meanwhile, Alnwick Chamber of Trade has launched a study of the empty premises, including shops, in the town centre, which amounts to more than 20.

That said, new premises are opening in the centre of Alnwick, including a new drinking establishment, Mr Fox, at the former Alnwick Arms pub, and a Vape shop on Fenkle Street.