A NORTHWICH councillor has told the Guardian that an offer has been made to M&S that he believes they cannot refuse.

M&S announced proposals to close its Northwich store last month in line with its programme to ‘reshape’ its UK store estate, with 60 members of staff in Northwich at risk of losing their jobs.

The news came as a huge blow to the town and its regeneration project.

At the time, Cheshire West and Chester Council member Cllr Sam Naylor said that M&S leaving Northwich would ‘take some of the heart out of the town’.

Almost a month on and Cllr Naylor, who is also a member of the cross-party Northwich Regeneration Committee, seems to be feeling more optimistic about M&S’s future in Northwich.

“We have submitted a counter proposal to the closure of the store and we’re hopeful we’re going to get a sympathetic ear,” Cllr Naylor said.

“M&S is run by hard-nose business people and they have clearly made a decision that they have got no economic future in the building that they are currently operating in. But obviously right around the corner is Barons Quay which CWAC owns.

“M&S are closing stores all around the country but we also know that they’re opening new establishments across the country, focusing on food courts and click and collect and moving away from the older, bigger buildings that are harder and more expensive to run. That seems to be their new model at the moment. We’ve got brand new units that are cheaper to run.

“We can’t force them to take a unit at Barons Quay but what we can do is make them a good offer with incentives and that is what we’ve done.

“We’ve got big companies coming in. If it’s good enough for H&M then why can’t it be good enough for M&S?”

The counter-proposal has come as a joint effort between the Northwich M&S store, CWAC, the cross -party Northwich regeneration Committee, and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury.

Cllr Naylor added: “It’s been a tremendous effort from a lot of people in Northwich who desperately want to keep M&S in the town. I just hope that M&S take a good look at the proposal.

“CWAC is doing everything within its power. We have made a proposal to M&S to take one of the units at Barons Quay and we’ve given good incentives. It’s now in their hands, but we know that we’ve done everything we can.”