Kettering's former M&S site to become temporary job centre
The store closed in August 2018
Kettering town centre's former flagship M&S store will have a new lease of life - albeit temporarily - as work starts to transform the shop into a temporary job centre.
More than three years after it closed, the High Street unit has been added to a list of more than 100 confirmed temporary job centres in UK towns and cities by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deal with increased demand.
Workers from Worcestershire-based construction company Speller Metcalfe are at the unit today (Wednesday) to carry out 'enabling works' and the frontage has been boarded off from view.
The retail giant shut its High Street shop in August 2018 in what was a devastating blow for the town.
Last year the unit, owned by US firm Fortress Investment Group, was still empty and had been on the market with estate agents Savills.There had been limited interest in the retail space which was held on a full repairing and insuring lease until March 2027 - meaning any tenant would have to take on all of the costs for repairs and insurance until then.
It is also understood the unit has asbestos which would be costly for any developer to remove.
Discussions were held with discounter Poundstretcher about taking on the site months before it entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The new temporary job centres are being created to provide services across the country where they are needed and 'increase capacity' to provide tailored face-to-face support in a Covid-secure environment, helping support more people back into work and 'progress into new roles'.
It is believed that the DWP will review the need for these temporary job centres as the economy recovers.
The DWP has been contacted for comment.