Buxton M&S store closure plan: supporting staff ‘primary concern’ for council

The Marks and Spencer store in Spring Gardens, Buxton.
The Marks and Spencer store in Spring Gardens, Buxton.

Marks & Spencer has announced plans to close its Buxton store as part of a programme to reshape its UK store estate - leaving 46 staff jobless.

The national chain said it would be ‘consulting’ and ‘supporting’ 46 colleagues following the announcement of the planned closure of the store in Spring Gardens - along with 15 others countrywide.

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

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Julie Ridley, M&S Head of Region for Manchester, Cheshire and Staffordshire, said: “Proposing to close M&S Buxton has been a difficult decision.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be supporting our colleagues and speaking to everyone individually to decide what is best for them.

“If the proposal goes ahead we will continue to serve customers from local stores and on M&S.com.”

High Peak Borough Council confirmed its ‘primary concern’ was helping store staff find new jobs should the closure go ahead.

A spokesman said: “We have been in contact with the Job Centre to request a package of assistance is put in place and will ensure every effort is made to support the staff.

“We have also contacted M&S to understand the reason for the decision.”

Roddie MacLean, chairman of business organisation Vision Buxton, said he was saddened by the news - especially for employees - but that the town had ‘a history of turning things around’.

He said: “This has been talked about previously. It’s a very small store - one of the smallest I’ve ever been in - so you can see where they’re coming from.

“It’s difficult for the high street when you lose big names but the high street is changing.

“I think Buxton has a great future but M&S will not be part of it.

“We can try and see these problems as an opportunity - there will be other businesses out there which can work with our demographic.”

Talking about the consultation with staff, Mr MacLean said he failed to see what responses the store chain expected.

He said: “I’m sympathetic to the staff but I’m not downhearted because Buxton has a great future.

“When the hospital closed at the Devonshire Dome everyone thought it was the end of the world, but we now have a university.”