'Jobs will be lost' if Stevenage TK Maxx fails to relocate

Outside the TK Maxx store in The Forum in Stevenage

The lease for the existing TK Maxx store in The Forum in Stevenage expires in September - Credit: Google Maps

TK Maxx in Stevenage town centre is being forced to close after the landlord served notice, with the chain warning jobs will be lost if its one "genuinely realistic opportunity" to remain in the town is not approved.

TK Maxx says its lease for the store in The Forum is due to expire in September and the landlord has served notice "on the grounds of redevelopment" of the site, with a likely vacation date of May next year.

Plans for a new combined TK Maxx and HomeSense store in Stevenage's Roaring Meg Retail Park - in a unit currently occupied by VFM Home Living  - have been submitted to Stevenage Borough Council, with permission being sought to install mezzanine floorspace, make external alterations and widen the range of goods that can be sold.

Outside VFM Home Living on the Roaring Meg Retail Park in Stevenage

The proposed new site for TK Maxx - on the Roaring Meg Retail Park in Stevenage - Credit: Supplied

In an accompanying statement, it says: "TK Maxx have considered potential opportunities elsewhere within the town centre, but these are not suitable.

"The proposal represents the only genuinely realistic opportunity for TK Maxx to remain in Stevenage.

"The [town centre] store will close irrespective of whether this application is granted planning permission."

TK Maxx says the plans will allow the existing 40 staff to transfer, as well as create about 25 new jobs for HomeSense, but warned if it is "not able to secure a relocation opportunity, the jobs will be lost".

Peter Everest, managing partner of the owners of Westgate Shopping Centre, has voiced concerns about the proposal. He said the arrival of Debenhams in the Roaring Meg - now the newly-opened Marks & Spencer - "unquestionably commenced a downward spiral of trade in the town centre," and that "with fewer key retailers in the town centre, the town is losing retail attraction".

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"The loss of one retailer leads to further loss of customers to the remainder of the town, meaning further shops become unviable.

"TK Maxx, as a principal occupier, is vital to the ongoing prosperity of the town."

However, TK Maxx said: "The proposal will clearly not have any perceptible impact on the vitality and viability of a well-performing centre such as Stevenage town centre and will not have any discernible impact on existing shopping patterns by virtue of its limited scale."