High Peak MP Ruth George has told of her ‘disappointment’ after Marks & Spencer’s announcement to close its town centre store in April.
The MP is now urging the retailer to honour its promises to 46 staff at the Spring Gardens store over redeployment and redundancy packages.
She has called-on M&S bosses to put back the April 27 closure date back until after Buxton Spring Fair on May Bank Holiday - arguing that the large, empty store could be a turn-off for tourists who often return later in the year.
Speaking about the closure announcement Ruth said: “I’m very disappointed this has come so soon after M&S claimed they were listening to proposals from staff.
“When I met with the company to press the case for Buxton they were obviously more interested in saving costs in the short-term by closing the store than in long-term investment.
“M&S did commit to me that if the store closed and staff struggled to other sites they would be offered a redundancy package and I will support the staff to get the best deal they can from the company - which I feel has let them down.
“I will also continue support initiatives to improve Buxton Town Centre to help make it nicer place to shop and to encourage new businesses to take premises.
“I hope that High Peak Borough Council will now take a collaborative approach, look again at free parking and toilet provision and seek the involvement of local organisations such as the Town Team, Vision Buxton, and independent retailers as part of their Future High Street funding bid.”
Ruth said she was surprised at the April 27 closure - just a week before May Bank Holiday and the annual Buxton Spring Fair.
She said: “The Fair takes place all along Spring Gardens and throughout the town and sees a considerable uplift in shoppers over the Bank Holiday.
“Many of the visitors we seek to attract back to Buxton and it is not a good time for such a large store to be empty.
“I understand that the company will wish to move through the process of store closure.
“But considering the impact that Marks’ closure will have on Buxton it would be very much appreciated if the store closure could be delayed until after the Bank Holiday Monday.”
Ruth added that she hoped the company would assist staff in making any difficult relocations, bearing in mind the ‘considerable distance’ to the M&S branches where redeployment was being offered.