Council to meet with Howard Centre and M&S over store closure

Tony Kingsbury Howard Centre Marks and Spencer

WHBC council leader Tony Kingsbury is to meet with The Howard Centre and M&S - Credit: Archant/PA

The fallout from the closure of Marks & Spencer’s Welwyn Garden City store continues, with the council confirming they will meet with representatives from the retailer and The Howard Centre to discuss concerns from residents.

M&S announced earlier this month that they would be closing their Howard Centre site in April, with residents raising concerns over the future of the shopping centre.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has confirmed it will address these worries at a meeting with representatives from both Marks & Spencer and The Howard Centre.

In a statement, a spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are disappointed with the news that Marks and Spencer are to close their store in The Howard Centre.

“Although we do not own or manage The Howard Centre, we understand concerns residents may have about its future.

“In response to this news the leader of the council, Cllr Tony Kingsbury, and chief executive Ka Ng are due to meet the owner of The Howard Centre and representatives from Marks & Spencer.”

READ MORE: What is the future for The Howard Centre?

WHBC also reassured concerned residents they are committed to making Welwyn Garden City and its town centre ‘an attractive, vibrant place’.

“Nationally, COVID-19 has taken its toll on town centres and high streets but we want to assure residents that the council is working hard to make sure WGC remains an attractive, vibrant place to live and work,” the statement continued.

Most Read

“These efforts are made in collaboration with key partners, including the Business Improvement District (BID) - which has just been renewed for another five-year term - as well as local retailers.

“Through active publicity campaigns, the council ensured that over 4,800 business grants, totalling £30.6m, have been paid to eligible businesses across the borough to support them through the pandemic.

“This support work is continuing with more business grants being paid through January and February.

“We have been behind various projects to encourage people into the town centre and help bring revenue to local traders.

“These include funding and partnering with the BID on the £5 Wonderful Welwyn Garden City gift card scheme, as well as putting on a series of successful #LoveWelHat events over the summer weekends and in the lead up to Christmas as part of a European Regional Development Fund ‘welcome back’ initiative.”