New M&S foodhall and up to 150 jobs could be coming to Stevenage
- Credit: Mountford Pigott
A planning application that could see a new Marks & Spencer foodhall come to Stevenage has been submitted.
The plans, submitted last week, would see Unit 5 in the Roaring Meg Retail Park - formerly the Debehams site - transformed into a near 10,000 square metre M&S store across two floors, with a foodhall and a café.
The application suggests up to 150 jobs could be created should the plans be accepted by Stevenage Borough Council's planning committee.
M&S is applying for a formal change of the building's conditions that restricts the sale of food and drink - which will pave the way for them to open their 1,600 sqm food hall on the ground floor.
M&S left Stevenage in 2015, citing the fact the store in Queensway was "no longer commercially viable".
The proposed site at Unit 5 will replace the Debenhams store, after the retail giant collapsed into administration and was sold to online retailer Boohoo in January.
Currently, there are 15 public comments on the planning application portal. All of them indicate their support for these plans.
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One resident said: "As a resident who also works in the town very close to the Roaring Meg, I wholeheartedly support this application.
"The town desperately needs decent retail stores, and having a Marks & Spencer with both clothing and food provision will bring huge benefits to the area."
Another added: "This application is a much welcomed and needed plan for Stevenage.
"Myself, and many others, are, presently, taking our custom to other neighbouring towns.
"The location is perfect as there is lots of space for parking while allowing access to a range of other shops in the vicinity with varied products."
Council Leader Sharon Taylor also commented on Twitter: "I can confirm we have received a planning application for change of use of the former Debenhams site at Roaring Meg, for it to become an M&S store with a food hall.
"This will have due consideration through the planning process so that residents and businesses can have their say."
To view full details of the planning application, or to have your say, see reference 21/00260/FPM on Stevenage Borough Council's website.