Retailer denies it has shelved new store plans

Marks & Spencer has denied that it has cancelled plans to open a new store in Biggleswade.

John Palmer, who lives in the town was confused at M&S’s reply to his email asking about widely-reported plans for the new store at the revitalised London Road Retail Park.

Representatives from the retailer’s customer services division said that there were no current plans to open a new outlet in the town.

But when approached by The Chronicle the company said its stance remains the same as when it first declared an interest in 2011.

But it stopped short of giving a specification and an expected opening date for the store.

A spokesman put the emails from customer services down to a misunderstanding on the firm’s part.

She said: “In 2011, we expressed an interest in the London Road retail park development but we cannot confirm our plans for the store at the moment but we will keep you updated.

“We apologise to Mr Palmer over the misunderstanding and we will write to him directly to clarify.”

In an email sent to John on Thursday last week (February 7) Steve Jones from retail customer services said: “At present we have no information relating to a new store at the Biggleswade retail park, and there appear to be no plans for a store at this location.

“I appreciate this may be disappointing.”

The overhaul at the retail park is expected to create up to 450 new jobs.

Existing tenants will be able to move into brand new premises and all of the current units will be replaced except that which houses Homebase, which will be refurbished.

Additional units will also be created. London Road will be dualled from the A1 to the Saxon Drive roundabout to improve access to the site.

The plans have been welcomed by both Biggleswade Town Council and the Biggleswade Chamber of Trade and have been hailed as an important boost for the town’s economy.