M&S is one step closer – but what of parking?

editorial image

PLANS for a new Marks & Spencer Simply Food store in Berkhamsted have been called ‘woefully inadequate’ for their failure to provide enough parking.

The Berkhamsted High Street scheme – to replace its former Royal Mail sorting office – will only have 22 spaces.

David Steadman said: “Twenty-two spaces seems to me woefully inadequate and instead of helping the parking situation, I think it will exasbate it in that area.

“It was a grand opportunity for someone to address the parking problem by doing a deal with the developer and creating some sort of multistorey car park.

“And if M&S do not want to do that, they can go away and we will find another retailer.

“Sites like this in the centre of Berkhamsted come up so rarely, and when they do, someone should have a bit of imagination and not just accept the developer’s first proposal.”

They were submitted to Dacorum Borough Council by Metric Property after a public exhibition of the proposals earlier in the year.

Metric’s plans say that the firm has provided “as much parking as possible” and that the site has good links to public transport and much-used pedestrian areas.

The plans state: “It is envisaged that the majority of our customers will combine their visit with a trip to other parts of the town, and we therefore expect a minimal  effect on overall volumes of traffic.”

As well as the Marks & Spencer Simply Food store, the Berkhamsted High Street plans include room for two other units.

These could be either shops, bars, restaurants, cafes or ‘professional establishments’ – banks, employment agencies, estate agencies and other similar businesses.

Clem Constantine, director of property for M&S, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for M&S and we look forward to bringing a new modern Simply Food format to Berkhamsted.

“In partnership with Metric, we aim to deliver a high quality food offer to our customers as well as enhance the look and feel of this end of the High Street.”

The proposed opening hours are from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, and plans suggest the conversion would create 75 new jobs.

The plans are under public consultation – to have your say, visit www.dacorum.gov.uk/planning and search for reference 4/01211/12/MFA.

A decision is expected by the council’s development control committee in September.