Newport 99p store on ex-Marks and Spencer site will be biggest in UK
9:02am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
THE former Marks & Spencer site in Newport city centre could become the largest 99p store in the UK, the Argus can reveal.
National retail chain, The 99p store submitted two planning applications to Newport City Council in June for the Commercial Street site which has been empty since Marks & Spencer left at the beginning of this year.
One application concerned shop front signage and the second involved alterations to fit a roller shutter and reposition the entrance.
The building on 9-12 Commercial Street is not listed, however both applications were refused by the council.
In the notice of decision issued by the council on August 15 it stated: “the proposed alterations would disrupt the symmetry of, and fail to relate sensitively to, the existing shopfront. As a consequence, they would detract from the appearance of the building and fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Town Centre Conservation Area.”
With regard to the signage the notice of decision read: “The proposed signs, because of their design and means of illumination, would appear obtrusive and incongruous both on the building and in the streetscene.”
The property is owned by private landlords, Burlington Capital, based in London.
Duncan Costin, acquisitions manager at the 99p store said: “We have agreed a deal with the landlord which we are happy with.
“It could be the biggest 99p store we’ve ever opened.”
The store, which would expect to create at least 40 job openings, is taking the ground floor and part of the basement which amounts to around 28,000 sq ft.
Mr Costin said: “We are working on revised proposals at the moment.”
He expects to send off the latest application in the next 3-4 weeks, which he hopes will be approved. He said: “The location is perfect for us. We are completely in their hands.”
“If we got the planning first time around, we would have been open for Christmas. Now there’s no chance of that.”
Darren Powell, sales assistant at HMV, said: “There’s two side of the coin. But if you can, just get anyone in there as soon as possible. Footfall is down massively so the more shops the better.”
Dawn Porter and Shital Senjaliya, managers at recently opened ‘What a party’ were in favour of any shops filling the empty units either side of them.
Ms Pitman said: “For us it would be quite good, it would bring more people down here. We don’t want empty shops around us. “
In addition to M&S, neighbouring shops Dorothy Perkins, Game and Paul Gentile Jewellers have all closed within the past year.
Philip Carpenter is manager at opposite jewellers, H. Samuels. He said: “Any shops are better than no shops. We need business and John Frost square is a long way from being finished. The footfall has colapsed in Newport in the last four years.”
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