Local constituency MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall & Stonehouse, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East and the Council Leader for South Lanarkshire have met with Marks & Spencer (M&S) to seek reassurances around the transfer of their regent centre store to a new location in Hamilton Palace Grounds Retail Park.

At the meeting the elected members made clear their disappointment at the move due to the impact it would have on Hamilton’s Town Centre and sought assurances from the company that staff would be supported as part of the move.

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.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:

“The news that M&S will be moving their store to the retail park is disappointing news for ongoing efforts to rejuvenate our town centre.

“With new businesses and housing being brought to the town centre which will see increased footfall it does seems like a short-sighted decision.

“We are however happy that they have decided to remain operating within Hamilton and will continue to work with M&S and other organisations, like South Lanarkshire Council, to ensure that staff will be protected as part of any changes.”

Councillor John Ross, Leader of South Lanarkshire Council said:

“South Lanarkshire Council and other partnership organisations have made huge strides in regenerating Hamilton town centre as part of our town centre regeneration project bringing businesses such as the premier inn and beefeater hotel to the area.

“This comes alongside repurposing of buildings like the vogue cinema to be used as affordable housing.

“M&S’s decision means we will need to redouble our efforts to ensure the positive work done so far to bring businesses and shoppers back to our high street continues to be built on.

“I made it clear to their management that the Council and other partnership organisations would work closely with them to ensure that staff are supported during any change.”