Community reacts to M&S closing its Yarmouth town centre store

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the out of town Gapton Hall Retail Park.

Picture: James Bass The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the out of town Gapton Hall Retail Park. Picture: James Bass

Monday, July 14, 2014
10:57 PM

Marks & Spencer is to close its King Street store in Great Yarmouth.

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Marks & Spencer is to close its King Street store in Great Yarmouth.

It is moving to the out-of-town Gapton Hall Retail Park with all staff transferring to the new outlet – which will be a M&S Simply Food.

The move, announced yesterday, has disappointed and caused concern in the community.

Some fear the shop’s withdrawal from the town centre may trigger a domino effect, with other stores leaving the town centre.

Others worry for the elderly who may find it harder to reach the out-of-town store.

The new store will offer a bigger M&S food selection, as well as a 50-seat café and free parking.

MP for Great Yarmouth, Brandon Lewis has urged Great Yarmouth Borough Council look again at the cost of parking in the town centre as a result of the announcement.

“M&S are moving partly to provide a free car park – it would be a terrible shame if other businesses decided to make the same decision,” he said.

“I have also been assured that M&S will be looking to ensure the Great Yarmouth store is a viable town centre business venue for someone as they are the property owner, rather than leaving it vacant.

“I will do anything I can to encourage new businesses to set up in our town centre. I will also be pushing M&S to consider those who use public transport to visit the store and may have difficulty with travelling to the new site at Gapton Hall.”

A spokesman for the company said the decision to relocate was not taken lightly.

“We want to ensure we are in the best location to serve our customers, and one which is fit for the future of M&S. We believe we have found this in Gapton Hall Retail Park.”

Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said they are disappointed that the large retailer is moving out of town.

“It is a commercial decision and therefore one in which the borough council did not have a say. The borough council’s principle for retail is ‘town centre first’,” he said

“The relocation of retailers to out-of-town retail parks has been happening for some years across the UK – it is not exclusive to Great Yarmouth – but the borough council will ask M&S to explain its specific reasons.”

Jonathan Newman, Great Yarmouth’s town centre manager, said the relocation is “hugely disappointing” and “completely unexpected” for the Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership, which promotes viability of the town centre.

What will this mean for Yarmouth town centre? Email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk

88 comments

  • Yarmouth is in its final throes, Within 5-10 years the town centre will be a retail wasteland. It's already in a race to the bottom with charity shops,bookies and pound shops taking over from actual footfall generating buisness. Norwich is only 30mins away and offers so much more.

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    timmy_two_sheds

    Saturday, July 19, 2014

  • Ridiculous to think the GY council is attempting to run M&S business. If the store was viable M&S would stay. In fact M&S is a troubled company with spotty performance leads one to believe they are lucky to be in business still and are heavily reliant on raising funds from closing the current store, reducing liability and increasing cash flow to survive. Hmm why would anyone seek advice from GY council on how to run a business? Just look around people the councils successes are everywhere! I suggest GY be flooded and returned to nature.

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    Paul Morley

    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • "V" the BID fee was voted for by local businesses and is very much supported by them!

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    Si Colins

    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • People are getting carried away with the blame game. It's quite simple - it's a business first, a service second. M&S would not be leaving without a carefully considered business plan, like most businesses all around the country they've come to the conclusion that out-of-town business parks are the way forward. Most of us are too lazy to walk to the shops and so they go where the traffic and car parking goes. Town centres that are doing well are those that have given up on their big national chains long ago and are supporting independents to set up instead. But consumers are afraid of change, they like their big carbon-copy stores. When was the last time you visited one of Yarmouth's independent clothes stores or one of it's many brilliant independent coffee shops? If the answer isn't recently then you have only yourself to blame for the loss of your town centre.

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    Si Colins

    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • Reddog90. The BID fee is an illegal fee imposed on shops, and is not leagally enforceable. What would they do if a shop refused to pay ?. Nothing. All it is is an illegal fee to give the otherwise unemployable councillors, town centre manager etc employment and something to do. Name one good thing this useless group has done for the benefit of the town ?

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    "V"

    Friday, July 18, 2014

  • Reddog90.. I am afraid each generation shops in a different way.... years ago produce was transported by horse and cart, then vans, then lorries to the shops for sale... the internet has changed all that and online shopping is the now and more so for the future ... like it or not is not an option... same with online banking high street banks will close... 1 million supermarket food deliveries a week at the last report .. must indicated the future of shopping is changing... The future is having things delivered rather than you having the bother going to get it...for a selective amount of shopping needs... as more use this type of shopping system which saves time and travel costs, the footfall for trade shops will drop... Amazon 1 million sales a day ..the rest maybe another 1 million a day, all added up 14 million sales online per week lost to high street sales.. the pressure generally is for less amount of shops all selling the same things ... TV adverts telling women to order a dress online at 9pm and delivered at 10 am next morning.... shops are shut at 10pm .. get the message it is a whole new shopping system now...One massive warehouse selling what 5000 shops and their individual running costs used to sell cannot compete .. just like supermarkets years ago shut many corner shops.... time moves on, you can order a good pair of boots from the USA delivered in 5 days ... Part time working now is becoming the norm along with Zero hours.. times are changing fast.. because costs must be cut and profits maintained ... This nationwide not just GY.... 75% of newly weds will never be able to buy a house like their parents or grandparents did ... and most parents could never afford to buy their own house again at he current price on the current income....housing is where the future money is being made not retail street shops that are transferring many sales to online deliveries. It is not a matter of use GY shops, it is shops will have to adapt to the current trend... Coffee shops growth is because you cannot buy a cup of coffee on line...and a new trend is created Time moves on and someone always has to suffer as changes occur.. that is life...

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    Lionel

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • I think its great that so many of you are commenting on this story... but hands up how many of you and people you know actually shop at Marks and Spencer on a regular basis? with business rates, minimum wages contantly being hiked and of course these town centre shops all have to pay (BID) business improvement district fee... how on earth can anyone be surprised at this decision?? ... As for Lowestoft... I have no doubt that M&S and indeed Boots would do exactly the same if an out of town unit was to become available ... with the only people to blame are the prople who read this and anyone they may know ... simple .. use it or lose it!

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    Reddog90

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Lionel. you talk about Sainsbury's opening on the Becon park. However the main uses for that park (excluding houses), is light industry (Not any more though), and some retail. I believe that once Sainsbury's opens you will see the Yarmouth one close. Then Argos will close the Yarmouth one and concentrate on the one by B & Q. BHS might close and go to the Becon park, and as for Palmers, I just wouldnt like to say. The reason for the move to the Becon park will not only be for the free car parking but there will be a bus service as well. Yarmouth will become a ghost town, with the parking attendents ticketing any car that happened to stray & park in Yarmouth and accidently overstayed by 3 seconds. thats all they will have to do.

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    "V"

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • V.. .. The £500 million may be including Vauxhall Holiday Camp etc. .and their holiday makers coming into the seafront...Firework days on the seafront evenings in the season has seen the seafront with many cars and people for the display...a big attraction for a few hours ... as you say £500 million cannot appear to be spent on the seafront alone... Spent a lot of time on GY seafront last year on a project during the good 8 weeks of good weather we had... During June and the first 3 weeks of July i had many age groups of people i talked to ask .. what is open to enjoy in the evenings ... is there any shows.. the answer was no.. only the Hollywood cinema or arcades...or Pubs .. some very disappointed at such a major east coast resort with so little to offer out of the 6 weeks main season in the evenings. Getting a breakdown of the actually £500 million created would be interesting.... against the costs of getting that stated £500 million..... .. Tourism will reduce as the GY decline continues...The New seafront improvements made have reduced the Parking Spaces by a third.... which keeps many Gorleston, Bradwell and Belton cars away in the main season... Parking aggro not worth the bother. .. many stay away from GY shopping as well... For the same parking reasons... That is why Gapton and supermarkets having FREE and PLENTY of parking spaces scores better with car shoppers... The town centre has NOT, and has become a 3rd division shopping marketplace.. How long Palmers with exist is another question.. BHS does not even sell a mans suit I found out recently... and Debenhams seem always empty ... Bad times indeed for GY RETAIL.... Coffee shops, Banks and Poundland type outlets seem the GY future at the present time.... When Sainsbuys opens in Gorleston that will increase the loss of customers to GY..... And building another future 1000 homes near St Pagets hospital.. GY will need many Free parking spaces to attempt to attract any of those new families in GY.... an opportunity if ever there is one for the future for more encouraged parking in GY to be developed.... Which in turn will bring more customers and wealth to GY unless retail marketplace refuses to offer better quality and more choice the future is bleak for retail shops. Investment and the ability of councillors to achieve a better future for those that voted them in is PARAMOUNT to turn things around ... are they good enough.. we will see...In the meantime we await to see who moves out next.. or shuts down...

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    Lionel

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Lionel. You are correct when you say "...the 25 plus empty shops make the place so uninviting and many looking run down.... ". Just look at the Arcade and all the empty shops. What do Newman & Wainwright have to say about that then ?. (nothing as usual). You also say "........slow downturn even the main holiday season with shows is just only 6 weeks now and never any crowds on the seafront anymore....." But according to the "rose tinted" views of the Mercury, the useless council and associated vested interest groups, tourism brings in to Yarmouth over £500 million per annum. Where ?. A lot of others and myself cant see where, so it has got to be all lies, just to benefit the vested interests

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    "V"

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • So we all know that GY centre retail choice is dying.. that said does M & S have home food deliveries, because Morrisions have been forced to start deliveries to compete with the other main supermarkets.. M & S refused to except credit cards for many years and it cost them millions, now they need to start home deliveries or loose out again. They are never a forward looking company as profits have been falling for years...dragged down by poor clothes sales... .. GY shopping is not a good experience, just for basic requirements. The GY locals have many on low incomes and those with more money living outside of GY never by choice dare come into GY for quality shopping as it is so limited. ... And poor parking keeps many away ...the 25 plus empty shops make the place so uninviting and many looking run down.... The downward trend can only carry on for so long as incomes remain so low and unemployment and a growing foreign population will drive many out of the town.... Just a many cites has seen the same on a bigger scale.... Even the banks moving in now does not help retail sales, and in 10 years time as more people start to bank online some of these banks may be gone by then.... online banking and food shopping will create even more empty shops in GY and the UK in general.... thousands of shops will become surplus to shopping needs ...why would you drive to Norwich to buy certain items when going on line to buy what you want and have it delivered often for free... saving time and petrol costs.. Millions do this everyday now... that is why GY has many shops empty...because of lack of customers ......all BASIC LOGIC... The marketplace at one end is full of chip eating folk and flying bird poo..... GY must invest in change and adapt or GY will suffer greatly in the future....... look back 15 years and take note of the slow downturn even the main holiday season with shows is just only 6 weeks now and never any crowds on the seafront anymore... sad times that need to be addressed by good forward planning ability from people that KNOW what they are doing...BAD Parking is a main loss maker to GY...so planners deal with it quickly...invite cars in.. do not drive them away, they have customers inside them..... Basic Logic.

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    Lionel

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • It's ok everything moving to Galton but please sort the roads out its chaos there that estate can't cope with the cars now!! We need another entranceexit near tkmax! Accident waiting to happen

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    Mandi

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • hmm well June Lowestoft may have its bad points as do most places. But we still have a Peacocks, M&S, Pound Stretcher, Burtons, Clintons and we also have two gormless MP's. We have Peter Aldous, who never responds to email, or comes to any meetings and what happens? These successive councils and MP's whether it be Labour or Tory get in cause devastation and then come grovelling on our doorstep and we vote them back in again!!! I feel sorry for Yarmouth I really do, because a lot residents are decent people. Lowestoft is bad but not atrocious. I think all residents of Yarmouth have less than a year to get rid of these idiots and make their voices heard, and everyone who can do it should do it and GET YOUR TOWN BACK ON ITS FEET.

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    Huddersfieldman

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Free market forces and changing population dynamics. Translated...The people who shopped at M&S are either dead or shop online and stay away from downtown of GY. Moving to Gapton isn’t exactly the end of the earth and brings the store closer to its customer base leaving the current store rip for redevelopment, betting shop, charity shop whatever the town can sustain in it created ghetto. Do WE pay for this town center manager with our taxes? Why do we pay this person with our taxes?

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    Paul Morley

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • How about replacing M&S with nice five star hotel in the town center. Seems there maybe be a niche for such a venue.

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    Paul Morley

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • June Muskett is so right about Lowestoft but it is till better than Yarmouth with it benefits and chav culture. Lowestoft is a disaster and will continue to be so. The new vanity project town hall ahead of the new bridge that the town so desperately needs, says it all really. Liverpool's finest is not up to the job!

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    peter waller

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • Quite right. The impact of the Coalition Government's Bedroom Tax and Benefit reductions is taking away over £30,000,000 this year alone from the Yarmouth economy. People can't spend money they haven't got - and that means Yarmouth shops taking less over their tills.

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    Mick Castle

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

  • As a former Lowestoftian now happily living in Norwich,im amazed people think Lowestoft town centre is better than Yarmouth,,Most of my friends still living in Lowestoft would not agree, They rarely go into London Road north, its such a dump.i havent seen it for about 4 years and it wasnt great then so cant imagine it is now. Marks and Spencer there i believe had some alterations,but a Lowestoft friend said when we were walking around the Norwich store it really isnt much better and it doesent stock many of its ranges.Yarmouth must be bad then . Seaside towns like Lowestoft and Yarmouth have been ignored for so long, thats the problem, East anglia in general tends to be ignored by everyone. See these new "space stations", proposed all over UK, whats the one part of Uk with a coastline they are not, Norfolk and Suffolk,says it all.

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    june muskett

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • This move must have been on the cards for some time. Planning approval, sale of alcohol, etc. And the town centre manager not knowing ! I can't see why they can't justify a smaller outlet in the town centre.

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    vegas

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Another nail in the town centre coffin. How on earth is the traffic going to be managed on and off the Gapton Retail Park ? It's already totally congested at weekends with people who seem to have a need to queue up to buy burgers completely clogging up the entrance. Presumably with the draw of M&S there will be even more traffic - I just don't see how it will work without some major alterations to the road layout.

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    carrotcruncher

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Brian-if Brandon Lewis said that either he is very wrong or I am misremembering The regeneration funding-I thought- was not given to the sea front but the to the council wards which were some of the most deprived in the country and happened to coincide with the bulk of the sea front.The council appropriated it for their mates in tourism, when what they could have done was sponsored a housing company and the community to gate and restore all the streets backing the sea front and offering incentives to encourage commuters from Norwich to live there. Instead they collaborated with developers and their chums to build vast estates in Bradwell and Gorleston, further expand the retail and business and even service sector to those areas and rip the guts out of Yarmouth to hand industrial areas over for a few paltry jobs in the renewable sector. Then they compounded the folly by sitting back whilst refugee location agencies and letting agencies flooded the town with non EU migrants with no obvious skills to offer and EU migrants living on poultry factory wages.Instead of lifting the average disposable income of residents in the town the council has allowed it to plummet. No wonder GY was not even able to keep cheap shops like Peacocks. M&S deserve to fail for terribly incompetent management of the town store but are probably running from that low per capita disposable income. The council had responsibility for the town and the WHOLE borough. As far as I am concerned they have failed-the local borough news freebie had not one mention of a northern village other than some new council houses. As everything shifts out of Yarmouth those who live in the northern villages and pay council tax see almost everything they need disappearing towards Lowestoft , as distant as Norwich, and with the traffic situation harder to reach. It is not justthe economic downturn which has wrecked GY, the council has done more than its fair share of harm GY was once a thriving town full of hardworking decent people, it and parts of the borough have been betrayed.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • 18 days ago there was a conversation on Street Life where a lady was asking if the rumour was true that M&S were leaving Great Yarmouth, where she got it from I don't know, but if there was a rumour then, how can Jonathan Newman, Great Yarmouth’s town centre manager, say that it was “completely unexpected”, he must have heard the rumour and should have followed it up. Oh and one other snippet on this, apparentley M&S thought there was a bus service to Gapton Hall, I wonder what the reaction was when they were told there wasn't one?

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    Spooky

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I thought if we were all in it together to promote Great Yarmouth as part of the BIG Society, then Brandon Lewis MP Gave us a glowing report, Just don't step back. What kind of message does that send out to retailers?

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    Brian

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • It really is so sad what has happened to Great Yarmouth; I moved into the area thirty-three years ago and have seen huge changes. Like some others who comment herein, my wife and I used to shop in the town centre but nowadays just don't go there unless we really have to. There were restaurants as well that we used to visit in the evenings - not anymore; we wouldn't consider going into the town at night. And if any readers of this note don't see what I mean let them get on a bus to the town centre and walk around for an hour. OK, we can say that Yarmouth has been subject to all the recessionary pressures of the last decade, but so has the rest of the country and only some towns have gone the 'Yarmouth Route'; to be honest I don't know why but successive councils must take the bulk of the blame when compared with many towns Yarmouth should have so much going for it.

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    wallywalnut

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Brandon Lewis MP on the 30 November 2011 said the following in the House of Commons; "Some years ago, Great Yarmouth was given about £17 million, which had to be spent on improving the seafront. I have to say that our seafront now looks superb; the council have set it up brilliantly. It looks fabulous and I advise all hon. Members to visit and see the great improvement. I also advise them not to step too far back from the seafront into Nelson, Southtown or Cobholm; they would see the areas left behind as industry faltered through lack of support." Has Mr Lewis forgotten that it was Conservative Council in the period he was talking about. What funding has he secured since becoming an MP? More to the point, How much has he denied Great Yarmouth since becoming MP?

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    Brian

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Everyone including all Borough Councillors please have a good look at rows 49 and 51 which are two of the leading rows into the Market Place. What do you see? CLEAR IT UP AND SANITISE!

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    rovi

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I agree with you rgerrnwood, that Lowestoft is far superior to Yarmouth. The reason Yarmouth is like it is is that more emphasis is put on holiday makers and the seafront, than the centre of Yarmouth and the locals. Too many vested interests in the holiday trade not only with this council, but the previous Tory councils, and too much influence on the council from those in the holiday trade (we all know who they are, dont we), especially those with the funny handshake.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I agree with the comment come to LOWESTOFT both me and the wife prefer going to Lowestoft better shops easy to park

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    rgreenwood

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • i work in a holiday camp, and the amount of people who tell me they use to enjoy going, visiting Yarmouth, but now say its a dumpdirty and full of foreigners i am hearign this more and more each day sad really.

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    rgreenwood

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • "Trevor Wainwright, the leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said they are disappointed that the large retailer is moving out of town." “It is a commercial decision and therefore one in which the borough council did not have a say. The borough council’s principle for retail is ‘town centre first’,” he said ------- Well thats rubbish and gone out of the window for a start---------- “The relocation of retailers to out-of-town retail parks has been happening for some years across the UK – it is not exclusive to Great Yarmouth – but the borough council will ask M&S to explain its specific reasons.” ----- Yeh. as if they are going to explain their real reasons to useless, unqualified councillors ? -------- Jonathan Newman, Great Yarmouth’s town centre manager, said the relocation is “hugely disappointing” and “completely unexpected” for the Great Yarmouth Town Centre Partnership, which promotes viability of the town centre. -----Look out. The great one has spoken. Looks like the end of the Town Centre Partnership then doesnt it, and you out of a job ?. -----

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • seafront losing business as well why the stupid local residents parking allocation, most of then non working and foreign, no wonder noone wants to visit the seafront no where to park no brainey really ??? again stupid Yarmouth council old has beens

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    rgreenwood

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • its great yarmouth popluation to blame you should voted for ukip, Lewis is a waste of space

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    rgreenwood

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Come to Lowestoft the town centre is clean and would welcome vistors to breathe new life into the town, reverse the trend that we had to travel to Yarmouth for shopping.

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    Kevin Tinsley

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • The only time I visit the town centre is to grab a portion of chips of the market. The cost of parking is outrageous, the town centre is dirty plagued by seagulls and English it seems is a second language. However as other before me have stated the access to the retail parks need to be modified

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    Andrew Bradley

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • The same process will happen in Norwich,where the city centre branch will close,and a Simply Food outlet will flourish on the outskirts! Astronomical rates and poor access courtey of the council will ensure a city centre full of empty shops!

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Sorry. I forgot. AND WHERE IS THE TOWN CENTRE MANAGER ???????????

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I will give Castle his due, that he has actually commented on this. Strange how Wainwright is very quiet. Is this calamity beyond his useless capabilities, or is he hoping that by burying his head in the sand it will go away ?.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Yarmouth needs a change of councilcouncillors but even when people shew their contempt for the shower that are in place now by voting for UKIP those more interested in hanging on than in actually doing something for the town conspired to stop the new councillors having any real input. They should go,and go now.

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    kevin bacon

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • M&S just didn't have a a dedicated 'chave' department, shame really. Hoodies with a large M&S printed on the front would have gone down a storm!

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    peter waller

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • For those afraid of the part of your communuty that doesn't speak your language, think about the conditions they must have come from (legally) to consider Great Yarmouth as a viable option for a life. Just because the accent sounds unwelcoming, doesn't mean they want to harm you, theyre probably just going about their business as you are. There will always be the minority of etnic groups which let the law abiding ones down, a quick glimpse at the Up in Court section will show you a comparison of Brits to European offenders. Who can blame M and S for wanting to move out of town also? Why should the council have a say in where a business wants to go? If new larger retailers want to come to Yarmouth then they will want out of town as they are usually larger premises with better access. Yarmouth town centre doesnt have this. Its time the council accepted that they got this wrong. Along with every other major decision they have had to make. They simply do not know how to manage, its really as simple as that.

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    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • So Brandon Lewis said recently that about the bad press GY had on TV benefit programme... Well Mr Lewis this the true reality of the way GY is run and it`s own suicide of RETAILING. The ex CO-OP gone, Hughes going next May, M & S going, The Market Stalls reduced by half, Banks moving in, BY 2020 BHS and Debenhams will probably be gone as well if the down trend continues.. The town will become like the King St St Peters Rd area .. a no go ghetto place for more and more locals..,.. taken over by non Brits.... The seafront Casinocinema complex will never be built under the present times of mass loss of trade into the town....So Mr Lewis stop MP waffling and start getting off your backside and actually start doing something to reverse this trend.. or resign... GY RETAIL IS DYING on your watch.. and who really needs another out of town FOOD SUPERMARKET.. To compete with all the 5 others already outside.. M & S are in big lower profit trouble nationwide..... The FUTURE for GY RETAILING is looking BLEAK.. MR Lewis OVER TO YOU ..lets see what you are really worth...to GY.

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    Lionel

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • The local council and the M.P. are deservedly getting some stick about this.......this once great and wonderful town has become a dumping ground, enabling others to deposit their unwanted upon us.........the local people, the ones that have to stay here and who try to work here, are being forgotten about by those who are only thinking about the “old school tie” system, wanting to either feather their own nest or that of their cronies by promoting “GREAT” Yarmouth's seafront and Marine Parade......not much is provided for the people of the outlying villages.....getting into or out of the town from Bradwell is a joke, public transport struggles to perform adequately, and as for the comment about Belton and Bradwell becoming part of Suffolk......Bradwell always was part of Suffolk until the Tory government decided in the 1970's to move the boundary to enhance their chances of gaining more votes.....methinks our once GREAT town is dying with help from those who apparently don't give a damn about it......

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    ernestskid

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I agree with most of what has been said already, but, just wanted to have my say! We use to shop in Gt. Yarmouth every week for around 30 years, however, I only go twice a year now when I go to the dentist! The place is filthy, empty shops everywhere, cost of parking too much and it no longer feels safe, I also feel like a foreigner in my own country as there are few people speaking English in the town now. If M&S goes that will be it, I cannot see Palmers lasting long after that, it is so sad, but, other towns seem to be doing much better, Gorleston is a lovely little place as is Beccles and Lowestoft, so, the blame must be with the council surely?

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    Lynda

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I am concerned for the... elderly....non drivers...disabled ....who will not be able to get to the new site ....will there be a direct bus route?...Why could MS not have moved into the old Co-op building?...Great Yarmouth IS NOT the town it used to be ..now it's ..dirty...do not feel safe to walk about...main shops closing and closed....Sorry GY it is sad to see the way you are now.

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    Glen Sellers

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Mick Castle may try and shift the blame onto M&S; but who caused the problem in the first place. The council has allowed the town to fill up with more and more people whose main source of income, or the majority of it, is derived from benefits and tax credits. As these claimants have become a more and more significant part of the population of Yarmouth the amount of money spent in the shops has fallen. M&S has obviously calculated that opening up a Simply Food is a worthwhile project and who can blame them. Their customer base hardly includes the growing numbers of benefit claimants and immigrants of Yarmouth. Councillor Castle and his colleagues should have done more to ensure that Yarmouth was not allowed to be as welcoming as it has for benefit claimants and immigrants. That is where the real blame lays. Little wonder UKIP did so well in the recent elections. The council has allowed irreparable damage to be done to the fabric of the town and until they stop being in denial, nothing will change. Yarmouth is well on track to become one of the first Borough's to have a UKIP MP. The number of Labour and Tory big hitters visiting the town come election election time will show how jittery they are about that happening.

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    BG

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Daisy. I would not assume that the people of Gorleston, Belton, bradwell etc want to be associated with Yarmouth either. Time for them to start looking into becoming part of Suffolk, and let Yarmouth with the outer disaster and their over £500 million (ha ha ha) takings from the seafront, stand on their own two feet. See how far they get with a vast reduction in council tax takings. But, our arrogant, ignorant "leaders" would never allow this.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • "There's blue rinse customers and then there are M&S customers."

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    One Horse Town

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • I suspect the Puppet Man's takings will take a severe hit.

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    Vic Sponge

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Great Yarmouth planners should all be sacked and councillors resign for allowing the store permission to open on Gapton. The Co Op stands empty , there are other sites suitable- if they had negotiated with the owners of the former Debenhams building for instance. They are just following GYBCs lead-knocking the guts out of Yarmouth to rebuild it on their cronies patch in Gorleston. This will not only damage Yarmouth but it means swathes of the borough have further to travel and more traffic jams to face just to shop. And if they use public transport the retail parks are virtually inaccessible. It is time council tax payers in the Northern villages banded together to demand an opt out from GY-we might as well be in Broadland and GY renamed Yartoft-come-Gorleston. If the new store is no better managed than the town centre store it deserves to fail. I should be in the demography or M&S fans but the clothes they stock are almost all only fit for 85 year olds in a care home.There are hardly any shops in GY selling clothes for the under 12s-but did the M&S manager spot the opportunity-no. Just ghastly overpriced icky food for those who know no better.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Some nice comments Mr Castle, but you have spent most of your time and efforts concentrating about homeless people in the borough (eg Salisbury road development on postage stamp size land) that you have tended to neglect existing residents. the result of which is that over the years, the socio-economic make up of the town has changed beyond recognition. Perhaps you will now consider what the council can do to for the whole of the town, and deal with existing problems rather than create new ones!!

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    grafter

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Continuing on from my last post, for each shop that is emptied, the council allow a charity shop, a mini market, a takeaway or a secondhand shop to take it's place, it's no wonder no-one wants to shop here. How many councillors actually live within walking distance of the town, how many have actually walked around the streets and seen the rotting window frames, grotty paintwork and filthy streets. Are we supposed to be proud of the old wall, take a look at the rubbish left in Blackfriars Road behind the wall. Maybe if the councillors left their chambers and went and had a look, it might make them do something, then maybe not, they don't live here do they. Even Brandon Lewis moved his offices out to Gorleston.

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    Spooky

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • So Castle, what you are saying is the corporate decisions these companies make are all down to the comments made by us, in the Mercury ?. If we say something nice will the CEO's and shareholders be beating a path to Yarmouth's door ?. I don't think so somehow.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Apart from the now small amount of necessary shops, can Mr Castle perhaps tell me why when it is stated that the Market has at least 49 stalls according to the poster there, we never actually see 49 stalls, is this individual stalls totalling 49 or is it including for instance the 6 stalls that one market trader uses to put their stock out on. And also Mr Castle your comment of "filling the Web with these paranoid rantings" won't deter companies from coming here and they won't move out because of what is said, they only need to come here and look at the state of the town centre and the town in general to decide whether or not to come here or leave. The main footfall is on a Saturday, tourists when we get them are only here a few weeks and the rest of the year it's the bare minimum of people.

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    Spooky

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • How about putting a road back in the town centre, with kerbside parking. Turn the market square into free two hour parking. Makes much more business sense.

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    vegas

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Of course this is disappointing. This is a business decision by a big retailer and there is virtually nothing that the Council could possibly do about it. Saying that all Yarmouth residents are "rubbish" is not at all fair either and filling the Web with these paranoid rantings will just fuel similar decisions by multiples and frighten off any new investment.

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    Mick Castle

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Well thats another empty store that we can have as a town centre school !

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    yarco

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Real sad to hear this. One of the UK's biggest companies losing confidence in the future of the town centre. I would of thought they could of relocated in the centre into a smaller outlet with their food sales. It's going to be a challenge to fill this gap. Did the town centre manager see this one coming ?

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    vegas

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • After reading all the blogs, and you all have very valid points, my predictions for the next two years are that Argos will close their market place shop and keep open the one by B & Q. The next one to go will be Sainsburys seeing as there is a megastore being built on the Beacon park and there should be plenty of buses going there and free parking. As for Palmers, I would not like to think they would leave, but if my predictions are correct and the other big chains leave I believe they would have no option. I have deliberately left out shops in Market gates and just mentioned those that you can see from the market place.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • The last thing this place needs is an over priced food shop! Why not make it a good shop like in Norwich that sells everything including kids clothes. Great Yarmouth town centre is collapsing I will be suprised if there is anything left in 5 years.

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    Clare Harvey

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • this is bad news for the town, but remember the council may decline permission for certain shops, but on appeal direct to government its passed, out of the hands of gybc. i do agree most of this is there making.

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    calmudownboy

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Mark, Some people are beyond help and our Council is full of them. It`s little wonder the council is broke. They won`t be satisfied until the town reverts once more to being a sand bank in the north sea. Some say it is now, used as a dogs toilet.

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    BG

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • the town centre is becoming like norwich's anglia square, other city's have revamped their shopping centres and provided cheap parking.

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    gerry mitson

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I'm from Yarmouth, but now live in Manchester so only come back every few years. It's amazing how down hill Yarmouth has got. There is no business sense in the local council at all, it's turning into a half dump half ghost town. I'd love to come back and give the council some advice, they sure need it!

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    Mark Brown

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I avoid going into Yarmouth at all costs. It used to be a vibrant town but it has turned into a real dump. If you keep on putting people there from all over the country and the world with a myriad of problems what can you expect. You only have to look at the early morning and evening ebb and flow of traffic into and out of the town to realise that people may choose to work there; but they certainly don`t want to live there. The town centre is finished and how long before Bhs relocates to somewhere like the old Comet store. Then whose next. Its all like a game of dominoes. The move to out of town retail shopping has been allowed to develop piece meal without a strategic traffic plan. The Tesco roundabout barely copes now so how it will fare when the other nearby outlets open remains to be seen. Traffic entering Gapton Retail Park waiting to turn right into McDonalds causing incessant traffic jams so that needs to be addressed. As does the problem of traffic wanting to leave the Park. Traffic lights would only cause more problems and a new roundabout would be too expensive. Maybe a, no turn right, with all traffic having to go to the Gapton roundabout could be the answer. It seems Gt Yarmouth Council has been asleep on the job and have been putting planning applications through on the nod with little thought of the consequences or a master plan. Little wonder the town is in terminal decline. A port, a seafront and a major welfare benefit centre is what it is now. You are welcome to Yarmouth, literally.

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    BG

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • How did M&S even expect to compete with the 'Fashion Houses' along Regent Street ?

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    GoodRockinDaddy

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Very sad news, just another empty shop in town. I can drive to Gapton park but an awful lot of people can't.

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    Gail Champkins

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I live in Gorleston. Sadly I agree with the above comments. I go into Yarmouth town centre less than twice a year and that's only if I need something very urgently. And even them usually I'm completely out of luck and have wasted my time trying. I really enjoy going to Norwich for an afternoon , it's nice, clean, even if I don't buy anything we have a great time and enmjoy the experience. There's nothing I enjoy about visiting Yarmouth with the exception of I like the chips at one of the chip stalls.. They need more good shops moving in, not more good ones moving out,. When Debenhams was first announced my wife was excited. It must be the worlds smallest Debenhams, hence we visited it once and realised it simply wasn't worth the bother. Gorleston has everything I need for quick must have purchases, and anything else I buy on line., When I can order online up to 11pm at some places and have next day delivery, and even after paying extra for that the items still cheaper (by a big margin) than anything I can get in most shops, I'm surprised more town centres haven't gone bust. They need to rethink town centres completely and maybe turn them more into huge leisure areas, the days of the town centrer as we know it are numbered, and after going to Yarmouth a couple of times a year and experiencing what I experience, I cant say I'm sad. My wife is a mobile hairdresser and whenever the subject of the elderly shopping comes up, she is very quick to point out how nearly all of her elderly clients buy on line and from the likes of QVC and have no problems doing so and love the convenience.

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    Ojustaboo

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • There's a certain irony that, just 20 miles away, M & S Norwich store is their second biggest money taker in the UK, after their Marble Arch store.

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    Yarco

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I come to yarmouth 3 or4 times a year4 have been since I left, the town is full of skanky scruffy dressed people it's a shame used to be great there's no great in yarmouth now the place has gone down hill every year

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    exlocal

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Wow! What a fantastic idea M&S. I will certainly be doing my food shopping there when you move. M&S didn't really sit right within the town centre anymore amongst the pound and charity shops. With Hughes moving and other well known brands moving Great Yarmouth town is not worth travelling to anymore except for the banks. Even Gorleston High Street now has a better selection. If anyone is to blame it’s the council , surely they have to pass the planning on any of these moves.

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    Dan

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Look at dear old Tory MP Brandon Lewis going on about 'bringing jobs to Great Yarmouth' and the tired old story of 'the recovery is happening!' You'd think if that were true M&S would be EXPANDING to Gapton and keeping the City Centre Shop open! Not only that but far from becoming a ghost town, the streets should be teeming with shoppers put buying the latest summer fashions. No, as has already been said, M&S are moving to Gapton before the city Centre gets any more run down. As for our elderly population, I'm sure there will be plenty of Tories saying 'well, if you haven't got a car, that's your problem. Everybody drives these days!'

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    TORIESOUT

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • GY town center is slowly dying and at best has a few years left. M&S is going, Hughes is going, Co-Op has been vacant for years, as has the old clothes shop next to M&S. No big retailers in their right mind are going to come in and replace those lost. So I want to know, are the council and town centre management proud of what they have done to our town centre and what are they doing to arrest the decline ??

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    Mark Simmonds

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • The problem for the whole area is accessibility, especially if you plan to do a lot of shopping and have bags to carry. I once tried to get a large tv from Argos to my car, but could not park anywhere nearby as it was Market day, and I do not have a residents permit for Middle Market Road area, nor blue badge, so you guessed it.......I went to Gapton. A big difference could be made by opening Regent St to all traffic, not just buses. This could provide plenty of one hour free parking spaces along here, and if 2 hours free parking on the Market Place and other nearby Pay & Displays was arranged, this would go a long way to increasing footfall, and help save other shops in this area.

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    grafter

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • kaz3618. "......It's just a shame it's not just a second store, like Argos have in the area....." I wouldnt bank on that too much either. Have you seen the state of the Yarmouth branch ?. I wouldnt mind betting (using one of the many betting shops in the centre) that the yarmouth on closes before long leaving the one near to B & Q.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • "We want to ensure we are in the best location" - translation = "Yarmouth town centre isn't good enough anymore, we're getting out before it gets any worse". & "We believe we have found this in Gapton Hall Retail Park.” translation = "We should get more customers from other area's that don't want to go into Yarmouth".

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    Spooky

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • perhaps the Council should now consider free parking for 2 hours on the market place as suggested many times before by other traders in the town centre it wont be long before there are no business's other than banks, charity shops betting shops and shops run by other nationalities like King Street WAKE UP YARMOUTH COUNCIL BEFORE ITS TO LATE

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    Maxine Agathokleous

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Yarmouth will probably end up becoming a port town rather than a seaside town the way it's going. Yes, there will always be holidaymakers, that won't change, but Yarmouth is definately heading towards being a port town instead of a holiday destination. It's the middle of July in Yarmouth, usually teeming with tourists, where are they, last year it was packed, this year even on a weekend, it's practically empty. I wonder why? Hmm.

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    Spooky

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Well any expansion of a retail outlet for Great Yarmouth is a good thing locally. It's just a shame it's not just a second store, like Argos have in the area. Yes a local 'Hopper style' bus needs to connect these 2 areas, so more people can use both and also the road entrances would have to be changed to accommodate the buses & traffic. There is already a great service provided in the town & around for olderdisabled people, in fact anyone who cannot use public transport. It is called 'Centre 81' (tel: 01493-332253) for a nominal fee they provide a 'door to door' service (which is better than a bus and cheaper than a cab!) and their drivers are all expertly trained in helping with bags & shopping for anyone who needs it. They have ramps & lifts on their buses to accommodate wheelchairs & scooters too. So come on council, plan more in advance to help our town survive!

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    kaz3618

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Clearly, now is the time for a regular, daily, frequent (at least hourly) bus service from Market Gates and travelling the length of Gapton Hall Road?

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    marc1972

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • This is dreadful news for the elderly who come into Yarmouth on the bus get a few bits and pieces from Marks and then bus home again. No wonder people are shopping in Lowestoft (which is much cleaner) and Norwich.

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    jan

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • It is sad that Yarmouth town center is dying but it is literally not worth saving now, can anyone suggest a way back from where it is now? The future is Gapton hall and that whole area. Investment needs to go into that road junction desperately to ease the traffic and increase the amount of people that can visit. Only then can you get that local transport links into it because just imagine running a bus route into it currently? it'd be a nightmare. Gapton is the future, lets develop it into a powerhouse for all to use and actually make a success story in Yarmouth.

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    Steady On

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Yet another landmark store being moved. Nothing will be left in the centre of town ina few years! Not all of us drive, and the buses don't go anywhere near Gapton Hall for people to get there and back. Its not even safe to walk down there as there are no proper pathways. Yarmouth is becoming a run down ghost town. We just needs a breeze and some tumbleweed and were all set.

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    Kat Perkins

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • This is a good move from M&S in my mind though. They can get all the middle class shopping from Bradwell and Gorleston that do not want to go into Yarmouth. I predict they will make an absolute mint in £10 meal deals! that junction needs to be sorted out big time though it will get ridiculous with the extra traffic.

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    Steady On

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Has M & S really thought this through, what about the 75% of your customers who are elderly and cant get over to Gapton Hall to do their shop, because they do not drive or do not like the out of town experience ie the queuing getting in and out of the site and the dreadful roundabout ? I thought they were trying to keep people in the town centre not send them out of town.

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    forevermum

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I don't often go to Yarmouth, but, when I do, I generally go into the centre to visit the Market and other shops (such as are left) in that vicinity. Those include M&S. I doubt that I will beat a path to Gapton just to visit M&S for food alone. I think in future I'll be going down the shopping route used by @Steady On.

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    T Doff

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Why are our council allowing this to happen! Big stores like this should not be allowed to relocate to an out of town site whilst killing the town centre. Bet Argos will be next to close their town centre site as they already have a store over Harfreys.

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    David Ball

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Yarmouth town centre is a lost cause! An absolute dump I presume Marks and Spencer will be made into a multi-level betting shop? It's not even worth getting mad about I don't use Yarmouth town for anything. Out of town, Norwich and internet is all that is needed. Dump.

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    Steady On

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • And what has Yarmouth's wonderful, overpaid town centre manager, and Castle got to say about this ?.

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    "V"

    Monday, July 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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