Recently, the fate of the newly developed Windsor House has been a bit of a mystery – everything went quiet at the site, after it became quite widely “known” that Marks and Spencer would be the tenants. We learned today that this is unlikely to be the case, and further changes to the building are now planned!
First a quick reminder of the history
The image above is from 2014, when the original planning application went in – you can clearly see “M&S Simply Food” on official artist impressions – so the association with M&S was in place right from the start.
The finished building looked like an M&S shopfront!
When building work was completed, the panes of green glass that went in were certainly reminiscent of M&S, and not suited to a typical shop which would want clear panes to display clothing or other goods. We have also seen recent plans which clearly show the space as a “Retail Foodstore”, including an instore bakery etc.
Rumours of “last minute” issues
Soon after completion, we heard that the new tenant was close to signing the lease, but then everything went quiet. Rumours arose that there was an issue with the M&S Delivery lorries being unable to fit under the arch (see below)! There was no official word, but everything went quiet at the site.
Newly revealed plans to convert warehouse space to flats!
The owners have now submitted new plans to alter part of the building. As it stands, behind the retail shop is a 2 story warehouse, with goods lift, staff room etc. The good inward door can be seen in the distance under the arch in the above photo.
The NEW proposals are to change this warehouse areas to residential use, and create six flats with the addition of windows, doors and front and rear balconies…
The gist of the reasons cited for the change, in the planning application include:
- The building was built assuming a single retail tenant.
- The retail landscape has changed over the last three years and the demand is now for a smaller unit(s).
- “There has already been interest from several parties in the site if it were to
become a smaller unit”
- Oh, and also – it would assist with “much needed housing supply” in the town centre
This would seem to be the nail in the coffin for Marks and Spencers, assuming they would not be interested in a smaller unit with no warehouse space as such? We will keep you posted of the outcome of the Planning Application!