Leeds Road M&S agree partnership with traders

NADV 1406251AM2 Marks and Spencers opening. Store manager Andrea Watson prepares to cut the ribbon to open the new store. (1406251AM2)
NADV 1406251AM2 Marks and Spencers opening. Store manager Andrea Watson prepares to cut the ribbon to open the new store. (1406251AM2)

After a tumultuous start to their relationship, the shopkeepers of Oatlands Parade and the new Leeds Road Marks and Spencers Simply Food have united.

They have agreed to work together on joint fundraising initiatives to enhance the local area.

M&S Store Manager Andrea Watson will work with the Oatlands Parade Committee on joint initiatives to raise funds to enhance the appearance of the Leeds Road shops and create a more appealing experience for shoppers.

Ideas include local events to stimulate footfall and fundraising for new flower beds and Christmas decorations.

Andrea Watson, said: “As a local resident, I am pleased that we are moving forwards to work corroboratively with the Oatlands Parade and to integrate M&S into my own community.

“This partnership will enable us to jointly deliver a vibrant shopping parade on Leeds Road and we have lots of ideas for working together.”

She added: “We are committed to working with residents and customers to make a difference locally in the long term and look forward to working with our partners in the area in the coming months.”

M&S Simply Food Oatlands opened on Leeds Road in June after months of roadworks which were needed to build the site.

Shopkeepers on Oatlands Parade noted a significant drop in footfall on the street and blamed a drop in trade on the chaos caused by roadworks.

A committee was formed and petitions were submitted to both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council complaining about the issue.

Tony Medri, chair of the Oatlands Parade Committee said he is pleased with the partnership.

He said: “We are looking forward to working with M&S to enhance the area and bring more customers to the parade. As well as working together on local events and fundraising, we are delighted that customers are able to use the free of charge car park at M&S when shopping at the parade.

“Customers can now benefit from the car park and front of parade parking facilities, making shopping at Leeds Road even more accessible.

“We look forward to bringing a renewed energy back to Leeds Road through this partnership.”

The committee are also working with Harrogate Borough Council’s economic development team on a series of proposals to boost the area including new signs, litter bins and cutting back trees on the street.