Blears to decide on M&S Cheshire Oaks store

Michael Hunt

Communities secretary Hazel Blears will make a decision on proposals for a flagship Marks & Spencer store at Cheshire Oaks after a six-day public inquiry in June.

Plans for the M&S store, the largest investment the company has made in a UK store in the last 15 years in the region of £60m, were approved by Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council on 9 December.

However, the proposals were then to be referred to the Government office of the North West.

A spokesperson for M&S commented: "We expect the hearing will take place over six months and the decision will then be referred to the relevant minister and then a final decision should be reached within a further six months.

"Our commitment to this scheme remains unchanged and we hope that the Government office will take into account the considerable local support for the scheme and the potential regeneration benefits to the area."

The newly launched Cheshire West and Chester Council and its strategic planning board is due to hear it is not being asked to decide on the application but to confirm what its approach would be at a meeting in Chester's County Hall at 4pm tomorrow.

This will then be the basis for the council's case at the inquiry.

The 195,000 sq ft store is planned to be built on a site off Longlooms Road and is being proposed by Simons Developments on behalf of M&S.

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