LxB's has got the go-ahead for a 110,000 sq ft retail park in Tunbridge Wells.

The scheme called Royal Spa, is a rare development in the retail park market due to UK planning policy favouring town centre schemes.

The scheme, which will be anchored by a 50,000 sq ft Marks & Spencer home and food store will be built at the junction of Dowding Way and Longfield Road.

Helen Nash, Marks & Spencer acquisition surveyor, said: ‘We will deliver a store which will offer customers in the local area a wide range of food products, complementing our existing town centre operation.’

Work is due to commence in March and should be completed to enable the tenants to open for trade by Easter 2010. Allied Carpets have signed to relocate on-site and detailed negotiations are at an advanced stage on the remaining 54,000 sq ft of retail space and 6,000 sq ft of restaurant accommodation.

Nick Alford, director at LxB said: ‘We anticipate that this will be one of the few retail parks which start on site in 2009, which is an achievement in itself, and that we have been encouraged by the strong interest shown by tenants for the few remaining units, which is testament to the strength of the town and lack of existing supply, added to the strong draw of the M&S brand to other retailers. We can see an emerging gap in the market for strong furniture and home furnishings brands to capitalise on the rapid reduction in the number of rival operators following the various well publicised corporate failures of companies such as MFI and Land of Leather.’

LxB are advised by Wilkinson Williams and Hammond Phillips. M&S were advised by CB Richard Ellis.