Marks & Spencer silent over Simply Food store rumours in Dunstable

White Lion retail park

White Lion retail park

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Marks & Spencer has refused to comment on speculation that its plans for a store in the White Lion Retail Park have hit the buffers.

In February, Central Beds Council approved a planning application to refurbish the retail site – a £4.3million investment which is hoped will create more than 110 jobs.

Under the proposal the long-unoccupied former Staples and Comet stores will be subdivided to allow new retailers to move in, including M&S Simply Food and Next.

However a source has told the Gazette that M&S’ plans to move into a refurbished unit five have hit a stumbling block, due to a legal dispute with another supermarket.

Allegedly this prevents another foodstore from opening in the retail park and M&S are exploring other options across the town.

It is thought that this could also have a knock-on effect for other firms intereste d in sharing the unit with M&S.

The retailer declined to comment when contacted by the Gazette.

White Lion owner Pradera were also unavailable for comment.

When approving the significant investment in the retail park, Central Beds Council kept in place restrictions on nine of the 14 units.

This means that any future plans which would have an adverse impact on flailing trade in the town centre could be blocked.