Weston’s MP John Penrose says everybody in Weston and nearby villages will be extremely sad and disappointed at the news that Marks & Spencer’s Weston-super-Mare store is one of 17 proposed closures across the country.
Traditional High Street retailers are all struggling against twin trends of shoppers switching to out of town malls like Cribbs Causeway, and buying online rather than in a physical bricks and mortar store.
John Penrose recently spearheaded a successful campaign to stop Cribbs Causeway from a big expansion, arguing that it would suck life out of traditional High Streets in towns like Weston, and central Bristol too. The Secretary of State agreed with him, and blocked the application in 2018.
John said: “M&S is a well-known and familiar part of most British town centres, including Weston. Everyone understands that we’re all shopping online a lot more these days, so every traditional High Street retailer is under pressure. But even though it’s a national problem rather than just Weston, it’s still very sad and disappointing.
“It would have been even worse if we hadn’t stopped the plans for a huge expansion at Cribbs Causeway last year. That would have sucked the life out of central Weston and Bristol too, making this news a hundred times worse.
“I hope we can persuade M&S to stay but, if they won’t, we’ve got to bounce back. Weston’s economic rebirth is going well, and we can’t let a single store – even one as well-known and loved as M&S – derail it. Last week the Council announced it was approaching retailers with new ideas and designs for the Sovereign Centre, and now they’ll have to step up their plans. High Streets everywhere are having to change, and we need the Sovereign Centre and the shops that surround it filled – not empty.”