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Go-ahead given for new M&S store in Norwich’s railway station

PUBLISHED: 11:44 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:36 03 October 2018

An M&S Simply Food store is set to replace the Pumpkin Cafe at Norwich Railway Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

An M&S Simply Food store is set to replace the Pumpkin Cafe at Norwich Railway Station. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A cafe at Norwich railway station is to close and be replaced by a new Marks and Spencer store.

The new Marks and Spencer Simply Food shop at the BP garage in Acle.

Picture: James Bass

The new Marks and Spencer Simply Food shop at the BP garage in Acle. Picture: James Bass

Officers at Norwich City Council have given the go ahead for the M&S Simply Food retail unit to replace the Pumpkin Cafe on the concourse of the station.

Permission was granted to Allen Associates Architects Limited to make the necessary changes to the layout of the cafe, which will see the Pumpkin Cafe and seating area removed.

In documents lodged with the city council, the applicant said the railway station sees about two-and-a-half million passengers pass through it every year.

They said: “The proposed M&S Simply Food will benefit passengers, providing a retail experience within the station concourse area.”

The railway station, which dates back to 1886, has listed Grade II status, but the applicant said what they had proposed - refitting an existing area - would not detract from that.

They said: “Taking into account policy guidance and assessment of the proposal, it is considered that, as all the proposed works are internal, these would not detract from the historic character or significance of the listed building.”

In agreeing to grant permission, officers at City Hall said: “The proposed works have minimal impact upon surviving historic fabric and there is minimal change to the historic layout of the space.

“Changes are reversible and in keeping with previously approved schemes in the same setting. Any harm caused by the proposal is outweighed by the desirability of securing long term viable use of the space.

It is not yet known when the store would open.

In the summer, M&S announced it would be closing more than 100 outlets over the next four years, although Norfolk and Suffolk stores were spared the cull.

The Great Yarmouth M&S closed its doors in the town’s King Street in 2015, after 104 years of serving customers, with a Simply Food outlet opening in the out-of-town Gapton Hall retail park.

That is one of several M&S Simply Food shops which have sprung up in recent years, including at the Sweet Briar Retail Park in Norwich and at a number of BP petrol stations.

But the company has, recently, scaled back new openings of the Simply Food chain, with a 62pc profit plunge.

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