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Gravesham council leader John Burden slams Marks and Spencer decision to close Gravesend store

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Gravesham council leader Cllr John Burden has labelled the decision by M&S to leave Gravesend after over 100 years "amazing" and explained the council were not happy with the announcement.

He said: "I think obviously the situation isn't a good one, we are disappointed that the first we heard about it was this morning."

The news that the retail giant is quitting the town has stunned business leaders, politicians and shoppers. Gravesham council quickly issued a statement on Monday morning saying it would be making "strong representations" to M&S management.

Cllr Burden said: "It's a big surprise because Tesco are in the middle of a £2 million refurbishment of its store and Debenhams is also in the middle of a refurbishment so all the big players are reinvesting in Gravesend.

Gravesham council Cllr John Burden
Gravesham council Cllr John Burden

"Our footfall has been better in Gravesend than most neighbouring towns and the Thamesgate is fully let and we've got Paramount coming. It's irrational what they're doing.

"What we are trying to do now is engage in conversation with them [Marks and Spencer] and try to understand their rationale and convince them they're actually making a mistake so they keep the store open for local people."

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