MP urges M&S bosses to change their mind over Felixstowe store closure
PUBLISHED: 11:39 26 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 27 January 2019
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey is set to urge Marks & Spencer to change their mind over the controversial decision to close their Felixstowe shop.
Thousands of signatures have now been added to petitions against the closure, and people were signing petition cards on Friday and Saturday this week outside the store in Hamilton Road.
Dr Coffey has expressed her deep disappointment at the decision to close the shop, and is due to meet M&S representatives in Parliament next week, when she will ask them to reconsider.
“I was deeply disappointed by the news that Marks & Spencer plan to close their Felixstowe branch - and will work hard with the council to try and get their decision changed,” she said.
“While I think it is unlikely they will change their mind, particularly given this is one of their smaller stores, I will be strongly making the case when I meet representatives of M&S with local councillors next week.”
Dr Coffey added: “I was in the store very recently and know just how popular it is with local residents and visitors who enjoy coming to Hamilton Road in Felixstowe to shop.
“Felixstowe is a town on the rise and, with jobs, population and investment all increasing in the town, I’m surprised about the timing of their decision.”
Protests against the store closure have been growing, with thousands of people signing petitions. Signatures were being collected outside the store on Friday and Saturday.
Mike Titchener, chairman of Felixstowe Town Centre Residents Association, said they had not yet counted them all up but it was probably around 2,500. “People just can’t understand why they are closing it. The people who shop there regularly say say it is always busy.”
Felixstowe Labour party branch officer Michael Sharman also collected nearly 700 signatures on cards in just two hours.
More than 3,300 people have signed an online petition, with many leaving comments on their reasons. Henry Sessions said: “This store is invaluable to the Felixstowe residents, a lot of whom can’t get to Ipswich or Martlesham. It’s always busy, and the staff are great. Frankly it needs to be bigger!”
Another Felixstowe shopper who signed the petition, Jean Parkes, said: “The food side of Felixstowe M&S is always mega-busy and is used by us weekly. For people who don’t have the transport to drive to Martlesham for the Food Hall and find shopping in Ipswich a trial, losing our local M&S will be devastating. Has M&S not considered turning the Felixstowe one into a small food hall? Surely a viable option.”
Calum Telford, M&S head of region for East Anglia, said earlier this week: “Proposing to close M&S Felixstowe is a very difficult decision. At this time our colleagues are our first priority and we’ll be talking to each individually about what this means for them and making sure they’re fully supported. We remain committed to serving local customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, they will be able to continue to shop for M&S Clothing & Home products from our Ipswich store and on M&S.com.”