Ripon councillor supports M&S return despite raising location concerns

Artist's impression of new M&S
Artist's impression of new M&S
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A Ripon councillor has insisted he does support Marks and Spencer returning to the city, despite raising concerns about the store’s location last month.

During a Planning Committee meeting in March, Coun Andrew Williams expressed his concerns that the store would be built off Rotary Way rather than in the city centre.

As a result, the council will now write to the developers asking them to consider opening the store at a city centre premises.

However, Coun Williams stressed that he was still in favour of M&S returning to Ripon, seven years after the original store closed.

He said: “I’m aware that there are people suggesting that I’m against M&S coming to Ripon but that’s not the case at all.

“But, if it does come to Ripon, I’m just enquiring whether they could find somewhere in the city centre rather than on the outskirts.

“We already have Morrisons on the outskirts and Aldi will be away from the city centre. This is just stopping people from coming into Ripon to do their shopping.

“I would rather have Ripon with an M&S than without one but I would rather have it within the city centre rather than right on the bypass.”

The developer behind the application has revealed that more than 90 per cent of almost 500 people consulted were in support of the plans.

Mark Rothery, managing director of Rothstone Estates, said he was delighted with the response and would be aiming to submit their planning application ‘in the coming weeks’. He said:

“There seems to be a real positive buzz about the proposals with the vast majority of local people welcoming the development and the return of M&S to the city.”