A MARKS and Spencer store is set to open at Ravenside, bringing with it 100 new jobs, by early 2014.
Rother planners yesterday voted 12-1 in favour of a bid by site owner Land Securities to demolish the existing Ocean Bowling facility at the Ravenside Leisure and Retail Park, Glyne Gap, and replace it with a three-storey, 33,594 square feet (3,121 sq m) retail space store.
The likely occupant is retail giant and household name Marks and Spencer, referred to throughout Land Securities’ application.
Consent is conditional on a Section 106 agreement to mitigate loss of the bowling alley - which last year attracted 97,530 visits; address traffic issues on the already congested A259, and trading impact on Bexhill town centre shops.
A total of 111 objections to the plan had been received, and a 469-name petition had called for an alternative site to be found for bowling. One possibility is at the leisure centre at The Down, Bexhill.
The applicants’ own public consultation in June last year, based on Marks and Spencer coming to Ravenside, produced 827 responses for and 52 against.
Bexhill Chamber of Commerce also backed the scheme as a means of helping to regenerate the town.
l This week, Marks and Spencer, founded 128 years ago, posted its first fall in full-year profits since 2009, forcing it to scale back plans to grow sales by up to £2.5 billion. Financial observers say it could mean chief executive Marc Bolland having to rein in store expansion.