Food store closure is a blow to the whole community

January 8, 2009 11:35 AM
Tim Bick

Councillor Tim Bick fears a domino effect from store closure

Cambridge Liberal Democrats have reacted with dismay at the news that Marks and Spencer is to close its Simply Food store in the city's Grafton Centre.

MP David Howarth has warned that the decision has implications not only for the workers who are to lose their jobs, but also for the community as a whole. He has spoken to the Grafton Centre management and Marks and Spencer urging them to take this into consideration.

He said: "This is dismaying news but perhaps not surprising in the difficult economic trading conditions.

"But it is not just bad news for the employees but for the people in the local area who have campaigned constantly for over a quarter of a century to get a local food store"

Market ward councillor Tim Bick said: "I would like to express my sympathy to the employees who will lose their jobs because of this decision which, in many ways is difficult to understand, because the shop seemed busy most of the time. This decision will take away our only food store.

"This is an important neighbourhood shop and important for the Grafton Centre as a whole, which with its park and ride links, makes the city a magnet for a wide area.

"With an alarming number of shops becoming vacant, this raises serious concerns about the health of the whole shopping area and I am afraid we could start to see a domino effect.

"I would like to see some way to galvanise all the relevant groups and organisations to try to launch a recovery and regeneration effort while at the same time improving further the area's attractiveness to new businesses."

Market ward councillor Colin Rosenstiel said: "This is the fourth time in 25 year, since the Grafton Centre opened, that the The Kite's only food supermarket has closed."

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