Buxton M&S closure plan: Online petition launched as councillors and MP make the case to keep town's store open

The leader of High Peak Borough Council has expressed his disappointment over plans to shut Buxton's Marks & Spencer store.

The Advertiser reported on Monday how the retail giant was consulting with 46 staff at the Spring Gardens store over the proposed closure, which is part of the retailer's programme to reshape its UK store estate.

The Marks and Spencer store in Spring Gardens, Buxton.

The Marks and Spencer store in Spring Gardens, Buxton.

The proposal would mean Buxton shoppers travelling 12 miles to Macclesfield for their nearest alternative M&S store.

MP for the High Peak, Ruth George, has written to M&S asking the firm to urgently reconsider its decision.

An online petition has also been launched on change.org, titled Prevent the Proposed Closure of Marks & Spencer Buxton. It says the proposed closure has caused "much shock and disappointment" locally, and pleads for the company to "give Buxton a chance - at least until the Crescent opens this year".

"If M&S closes in Buxton this year, the domino effect could be far reaching and catastrophic for the town" the petition page adds.

In response to the closure announcement, High Peak Borough Council has formed a taskforce and is seeking the support of partners such as the D2N2 Local Enterprise Council and the University of Derby to make the case for M&S to stay in the town.

Coun Tony Ashton, leader of the council, said: "We are disappointed at the news that M&S is consulting on the closure of its Buxton store. It would seem that the proposals do not take into account the continued investment that is happening in the town.

"Over £106m of investment has been made in the town's built heritage and later this year the redeveloped Crescent will open bringing new high quality hotel accommodation and a state-of-the-art thermal spa - the only one of its kind in the North of England.

"Buxton has also attracted significant new housing development and through the council's local plan 2,450 homes will be built bringing an additional £22.8 million household expenditure into the town.

"Consequently, we have contacted M&S to set up a meeting to explain the investment that has taken place and the further plans which show that the town is at an exciting phase of its development.

"The council has also supported the development of a new visitor economy strategy for the town. This will build on the success of tourism which has seen visitor numbers increase by almost five per cent to over 4.5 million since 2016 and tourism expenditure contributing over £250 million to the local economy.

"Now is not the time to announce the closure of a popular shop in the town and put jobs at risk."

A spokesperson for the council said it would continue to negotiate with new businesses who are investing in the town, while persisting with a bid to the government's Future High Street Fund for more investment in the town centre.