THE closure of a High Street store is set to go-ahead but the business has not ruled out the offer of an alternative premises.

Marks and Spencer announced that it plans to pull out of Redcar after more than 76 years of business but following a meeting with council bosses they confirmed the current store is no longer suitable for purpose.

Councillor Mark Hannon, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, who also attended the meeting, said he was disappointed with the closure but determined to stay positive.

Cllr Hannon said: “We’re always looking to improve the retail offer and M&S has said it will consider a proposal for an alternative site in Redcar, which we’re looking at.

“Redcar is one of the region’s better performing town centres for footfall and occupancy levels and has seen remarkable levels of investment."

He added: “With most of the borough’s town centre properties in private hands and business rates set by central-Government there is only so much within the council’s gift.

“But we believe we are doing everything we can to make Redcar as attractive as possible to retailers and, despite the M&S setback, we are seeing results.”

Redcar MP Ian Swales called into the firm's London HQ to call on executives to review their decision,

He said: “Redcar M&S has been at the heart of our high street for many years and it is extremely frustrating that executives have decided to close it. Whenever I visit the store it is always busy and I could not understand the reasons behind this decision."

When the announcement was made the company said the 44 staff who work at Redcar would be redeployed elsewhere, with no compulsory redundancies.