Plans for a new Marks and Spencer Foodhall at the Leamington Shopping Park have been refused.
The plans, which included the foodhall with an in-store café and a sales area and two smaller shops for non-food retail, were proposed to go on the vacant site between Debenhams and New Look at the Leamington Shopping park, formerly known as The Shires.
At the Warwick District Council’s planning committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday) the plans were refused by councillors because of the impact it would have on the town centres in Leamington and Warwick.
Councillors had been recommended to refuse planning permission in line with officer recommendations.
A report from retail planning consultants Carter Jonas, which was appointed by the council to carry out an independent report, also said that “the proposal would cause unacceptable harm to the vitality and viability of town centres within the district.”
Shoppers in the Warwick District had said they would welcome the addition to the retail park.
The council had also received letters of support from residents but received objections from Warwick Town Council, Leamington BID, Leamington Chamber of Trade and Warwickshire County Council Highways.
The BID and the Chamber of Trade objected to the plans because of concerns of the impact the plans would have on the town centres in terms of taking trade away.
M&S has been seeking a site for an additional food hall in Leamington for more than ten years to complement its town centre stores.
A spokesperson for Leamington Shopping Park said: “We are very disappointed by the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a new M&S foodhall and two non-food stores at Leamington Shopping Park, especially given the high level of public support demonstrated at the consultation earlier this year.
“We are still keen to regenerate this site (situated between Debenhams and New Look), which has been vacant since the Focus DIY Store Garden Centre closed in June 2011 and we are now considering our options.”