'Leicester city centre is dynamic' despite M&S closure

Leicester city centre is "dynamic and vibrant" despite the closure of M&S, a local retailer has said. Dominic Gomersall, managing director of luxury jewellers Lumbers Ltd, in High Street, Leicester, defended the city centre after the national retailer told LeicestershireLive this morning that it was "proposing" to shut the Gallowtree Gate branch.

Many of our readers have expressed negative opinions about the city in the wake of the news. Comments have included that it feels "unsafe", that there are "too many vape and chicken shops", that parking is "too expensive", that it is "difficult" to get into the city centre because of "cycle lanes" and around it because of "pedestrianised areas", and that it has "nothing" to attract shoppers.

Mr Gomersall said that while he was not surprised that M&S was shutting, as the branch had looked "forlorn" for "a while", Leicester still had much to shout about. He added, however, that Leicester City Council needed to address some issues to "make the streets a lovely experience".

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In a message to LeicestershireLive, Mr Gomersall said: "It should come as no surprise that the city centre M&S is sadly closing. For a while now it has looked slightly sad and forlorn.

"The city centre continues to be a dynamic and vibrant shopping area. The shopping experience with independents far exceeds the Fosse Park experience. It is rarely highlighted how often drivers are sat in queues waiting to get in or out of Fosse Park – the convenience has altered and parking in the Highcross is now always readily available and easy…..a far cry from the days when you just drove and parked outside your favourite Fosse Park shop or queued an hour to get into the city centre….this has all been reversed.

"Yes – things have changed and they will again. Fenwicks closed but we haven’t really missed it and those who mourned its closure had probably not frequented it for a decade .

"The council must help city centre businesses to ensure the short sightedness of some retailers does not become a pandemic and to do this we need coherent plans to make the streets a lovely experience. To do this we need plans to help homelessness not be the city problem that it is becoming with philanthropy and action."

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