Disappointment over M&S closure landmark

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SKEGNESS business leaders have spoken of their disappointment at a lack of progress in filling the town’s vacant M&S store on the anniversary of its closure.

The UK chain pulled out of its Lumley Road site exactly one-year ago this week.

At the time confidence was high that the prime retail site would quickly find a new occupant.

But despite continual rumours that the site is on the brink of being let out, it has remained stubbornly empty.

The District Council and the Skegness & District Chamber of Commerce have both expressed their disappointment.

Chamber of Commerce chair, Glenis Brown, however, also remains optimistic that the town will weather the economic storm that has been plaguing the UK,

She said: “We spoke to town centre manager Stefan Krause about the store’s prospects before Christmas and he didn’t rule out someone taking it over in the near future, but he had said that things hadn’t gone as swimmingly as had been expected.

“The economic situation is quite frightening but it is happening everywhere.

“Skegness will pull through it though. The town has proven quite resilient, especially when you look at the number of empty shops in other seaside towns.”

She added that many people were still frustrated with M&S over the store’s closure and what she felt was the firm’s attitude towards its customers, arguing that its limited range had seemed to cater mostly for the tourist “t-shirt brigade”.

A spokesperson for East Lindsey District Council, meanwhile, said: “We remain disappointed that Marks and Spencer left Skegness but we are looking to the future and what new opportunities there may be.

“2012 is an important year for Skegness and the wider District, with the Olympic Torch and many other exciting events that will remind people why East Lindsey is the place to spend time.

“Our £600,000 maintainance progamme for Skegness foreshore is already is underway and will be completed in time for the 2012 season making the resort more vibrant and welcoming.

“We will use 2012 as a chance to raise the profile of the area nationally to attract more visitors to help improve our economy and create new reasons for people to invest and create jobs in our area.”

l What do you think? Are you hopeful the site will find a new occupant? Why do you feel it has remained empty? Email philip.murray@jpress.co.uk.