National retailer lodges plan for signage at former M&S store

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the

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 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

A budget chain has submitted a bid for new signage at an empty town centre store.

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the

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 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

The application from Sports Direct for two fascia signs and projecting signs at the former home of Marks and Spencer in King Street, Great Yarmouth, is being hailed as the first "official activity" at the vacant store.

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman welcomed the move as confirmation the key store, with entrances on both King Street and Theatre Plain facing Market Gates, would re-open boosting the town's main shopping thoroughfare.

He said closing the store at Gapton Hall and moving to the town centre "bucked the recent trend".

"The majority of those that have gone over there have kept their additional store rather than closing down, but you have to wonder if that is sustainable in the longer term," he said.

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

"Sports Direct have not said why they making that move but we are really pleased that they are.

"They bought the building some months ago and they allowed arts organisation Original Projects to carry on until the end of September.

"There have been people in the store sizing it up, so it has been ticking along.

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"But it is good news to see some official activity with the application for signage.

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

"It is a highly visible location, it is important that the site is filled.

"It will make a big difference to the dynamic of the town centre.

"I expect it will draw its own footfall."

A spokesman for Sports Direct said an opening date had not yet been confirmed.

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the

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 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

It is almost five years since Marks and Spencer closed in King Street, opening a food-only store at Gapton Hall instead.

The company had had a presence in Yarmouth for 104 years and news of its closure in July 2014 was met with huge disappointment.

It finally closed its doors in January 2015.

Shops in King Street and Market Place have been notified of Sports Direct's plans.

Marks and Spencer.Front of shop on the Market Place in Great Yarmouth town centre.July 2014.Picture:

Marks and Spencer.Front of shop on the Market Place in Great Yarmouth town centre.July 2014.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

People have until December 12 to comment.

Research by this newspaper revealed Yarmouth has the highest percentage of vacant shops in the region's 18 biggest towns at almost 19pc, a total of 97 units - up from 80 last year.

Susan Shinn has been jailed for a number of offences, including stealing food from Marks and Spencer

Susan Shinn has been jailed for a number of offences, including stealing food from Marks and Spencer. PHOTO: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass

Marks and Spencer closing down its store in Great Yarmouth town centre.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the

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 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

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