COUNCIL LEADER JOINS LOCAL MP AND MSP TO SUPPORT TOWN CENTRE
Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley and Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP Christina McKelvie are urging Marks and Spencer to reconsider plans to close their Regent Way store in Hamilton.
Councillor John Ross, leader of South Lanarkshire Council, has also added his name to calls for M&S to change their mind and retain their presence in the town centre.
M&S have recently confirmed their intention to close the store as they prepare to open a new outlet in the former Watt Brothers store at Hamilton Retail Park.
Although the new store is welcome, it will not fully make up for the proposed closure at a time when economic recovery hangs on a knife-edge as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent years, South Lanarkshire Council has worked in partnership with a number of organisations to regenerate Hamilton town centre and help increase footfall for town centre businesses.
This has included support for new social housing at the former Press Buildings and Vogue Cinema as well as taking over the Newcross Centre to become a hub for town centre services.
Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley and Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP Christina McKelvie have sent a joint letter to M&S CEO Stephen Rowe to ask for a meeting with the company about their plans.
Commenting, Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley and Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP Christina McKelvie said:
“We were disappointed to learn of Marks and Spencer’s plans to close their store at Regent Way in Hamilton and we would urge them to reconsider these proposals.
“This will be a huge blow to Hamilton town centre and the local economy which has already been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is welcome that Marks and Spencer are planning to open a new store in the former Watt Brothers at Hamilton Retail Park but this will not fully negate the impact to staff and to the town.
“Just 24 hours before this news broke, Marks and Spencer announced plans to close 11 stores in France due to the impact of Brexit and this decision further highlights the consequences of the UK Government’s reckless decision to leave the single market in the middle of a pandemic which has cost jobs both at home and abroad.”
Leader of South Lanarkshire Council, Councillor John Ross added:
“We have worked closely with Angela and Christina as part of the Council’s ongoing work to regenerate Hamilton Town Centre and are disappointed that Marks and Spencer have announced their intention to close their store in the Regent Centre.
”Since the Hamilton Town Centre regeneration project has been launched we have seen new businesses, such as the premier inn and beefeater hotel, coming to the town centre.
“Alongside this, the town centre has seen buildings, like the vogue cinema, repurposed for affordable housing which will make it an even more attractive place for businesses and the local community.
“We will continue to engage with M&S and other stakeholders to protect jobs currently at the regent centre and urge them to reconsider this decision.”