Here's when the new Marks and Spencer Foodhall at the Leamington Shopping Park will open - and what it means for the Warwick Foodhall

Residents, councillors, organisations and the Warwick and Leamington MP have been campaigning to keep the Warwick Simply Food store

A date for the first phase of the opening of the new Marks and Spencer store at Leamington Shopping Park has been announced.

Today (Monday August 2) M&S announced that The Foodhall will open its doors on Wednesday August 11 at 10am, with the clothing and home departments, as well as a 130-seat new look M&S café, set to open later this autumn.

The new store will be led by store manager, Russ Tatton, alongside a team of 80 Foodhall colleagues, and will include a cheese display, an in-store bakery, a pick your own loose egg counter and a 'enhanced' frozen section.

The new M&S Foodhall at Leamington Shopping Park

The opening of the new store will coincide with the closure of M&S’s existing Foodhall in Warwick.

M&S said that colleagues currently working in the Warwick store will be moving to the new M&S Leamington Shopping Park Foodhall.

Since the announcement of the planned closure of the Warwick store, many residents, councillors and organisations have worked together to sign a petition to keep the store.

The petition has more than 3,000 signature and in June Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western met with representatives from M&S to 'remind them of promises made' and how important the store is for Warwick residents.

Members of the Warwick Chamber of Trade were also among those criticising the move saying the company had promised to keep the Warwick store open ahead of a new Foodhall opening on the shopping park, which was given planning permission in March 2019 after an appeal.

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MP for Warwick and Leamington Matt Western said: “While there will be a new M&S store opening in the Leamington Shopping Park, many people will be disappointed this means the loss of its much-loved stores in Warwick and in Leamington’s Royal Priors Shopping Centre.

“Out of town shopping centres are simply not sustainable as we’ve seen in the US where their development started 35-40 years ago - and many of which are now facing closure.

“Also people with limited mobility in our towns and villages will find it very difficult to access the new store and I’m sure many will still be bemoaning the loss of the supremely accessible Warwick supermarket – with far superior transport links.

“You have to question the firm’s ethics and commitment to the communities it represents – especially after reneging on its 2017 promise to retain the Warwick store.”

Speaking about the opening of the new Foodhall, store manager, Russ Tatton, who has worked at M&S for more 20 years, said: “My team and I are really excited about our new store in Leamington.

"When open we’ll be working hard to provide outstanding service and help make every penny count for the community.

"M&S Leamington Shopping Park will offer thousands of great quality products through our new Foodhall offering, as well as creating 50 jobs for members of the local community."

M&S also said that the new store will also offer new 'interactive elements', such as “moo-ing” dairy cows, as well as the in-store bakery which includes a doughnut table.

The store will be open throughout August and September Monday to Saturday 8am to 9pm and on Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm.