MORE than five years on from gaining planning permission there's still no sign of the new Marks and Spencer Foodhall being built at Halbeath.

And, amid moves elsewhere in Scotland to close their town and city centre stores in favour of outlets in retail parks, the company remained tight-lipped when asked about the future of the shop in the Kingsgate Centre.

A spokesperson told the Press "we don’t have any announcements to make relating to our stores in Dunfermline".

A new M&S Foodhall and a Lidl supermarket was promised as part of a nine-store extension to Halbeath Retail Park, with Fife Council giving the proposals the nod in February 2017.

The park is owned by Royal London but work has yet to start on the project, which also includes 200 jobs, traffic improvements, a new pedestrian crossing and an additional 300 parking spaces.

A condition of the planning permission was that work should start within three years but, due to the pandemic, they have how been granted two 12-month extensions.

In fairness, it remains an uncertain time for construction projects with costs spiralling, supply chain difficulties and shortages of basic building materials, such as cement, timber and roofing products.

When the application was being considered in 2017, councillors expressed concerns that the retail park extension would "kill the High Street", with some also fearing that opening a new M&S outlet on the outskirts of Dunfermline could spell the end for the Kingsgate shop.

Since then, in 2019, the M&S shop on Kirkcaldy High Street has closed with shoppers encouraged to visit their out-of-town store at Central Retail Park.

And just last week it was announced that their major store in the centre of Dundee would close, with the company favouring their retail park unit instead.

The Press asked M&S for an update on the foodhall and if they could give an assurance that the store in the centre of Dunfermline will remain open after the new shop opens at Halbeath Retail Park.

However the spokesperson said there was no news about the Dunfermline stores and added: "Our Dundee announcement last month relates to our ongoing UK-wide property reshape programme and we keep this under review."