Outspoken MP Brian Binley has renewed his criticism of Legal & General following the announcement that House of Fraser is to close.
The Northampton South MP said he believed the firm had shown an “outdated lack of entrepreneurial spirit,” and was failing in its responsibilities as a stakeholder in the town.
His comments followed a statement from House of Fraser, in which it claimed “detailed negotiations” with Legal & General had broken down, and implied it had not wanted to leave Northampton.
Legal & General said both Next and Primark were willing to commit long-term to the centre, but House of Fraser was not.
Mr Binley said: “I find this news deeply disturbing. Northampton is losing a leading brand from its shop facilities. You only have to look at the tired old Grosvenor Centre to know the retail offer in Northampton is simply not good enough.
“Legal and General do not understand that they are stakeholders in our town and they bear responsibility in that respect. Do they show it? No.
“I once said to Legal and General ‘either get on with it or get out of town’. I repeat that statement. Their outdated lack of entrepreneurial spirit says a lot about Legal and General.
“I’m delighted that Next and Primark are filling the Grosvenor Centre space, but it doesn’t add anything to the retail offer already here.”
A House of Fraser spokesman said: “It is with regret that House of Fraser Northampton will cease to trade.
“Despite detailed negotiations with our landlords we were unfortunately unable to influence the outcome and the current property lease will come to an end early.
“We have notified staff members and will make every effort to redeploy them within House of Fraser wherever possible. We will also be working with local businesses on this matter.”
The expansion plan for Next comes only six months after it announced plans to double the size of its Riverside Retail Park outlet, when it also said it had no plans to close the Market Walk store. It has signed a 15-year lease at the Grosvenor Centre.
A spokesman said: “The move will lead to more jobs, more products ranges and a bigger store in general, showing Next’s commitment to the town centre.”
A spokesman for Primark said the company did not comment on store openings.