BOURNEMOUTH town centre is bracing itself for the closure of the Marks & Spencer branch which has been part of shopping habits for generations.

The town centre councillor who relaunched the Commercial Road store when he was deputy mayor has said he is “concerned and disgusted” that it is going.

The store is set to close on Saturday, April 14.

M&S revealed in February that Bournemouth was one of 14 branches which would close in a cost-cutting drive. The 135 staff have been offered jobs at other stores, but one employee described the announcement as a “bombshell”.

Cllr Bob Chapman reopened the store in 2007, when it became the first of the chain’s 400 shops to be given an environmentally friendly refurbishment.

“I’m concerned about it and somewhat disgusted, when they spent a couple of million pounds renovating the store only a few years ago,” he said.

“I was called on to relaunch the shop and they had spent a lot of money on putting special systems in there to conserve energy on heating and cooling the store and they made a big splash of that – and now they’re going to close it.

“I hope Marks will have the decency to market the site as soon as possible to other retailers but the future for retail isn’t looking good at the moment nationally.

“It really confirms my view that Castlepoint would always have an increasing impact on the centre of town and on other areas of Bournemouth as well.”

The Commercial Road store temporarily lost its top storey after the opening of the Castlepoint. But when Castlepoint was temporarily closed by car park problems before Christmas in 2005, the top floor was reopened and continued to trade.

Tony Brown, chief executive of town centre rival Beales, said the closure of M&S would be a blow to the town.

“Any retailer leaving any town is a double edged sword. Will there be additional business for other retailers? Probably, but it’s not material enough to want M&S to disappear,” he said.

Aaron Spicer, M&S head of region for Wessex, said in a statement: “Closing our store on Commercial Road was not a decision we took lightly. The team are staying with M&S and will continue to offer our customers the very best of M&S in the area, including at our flagship Castlepoint store.”

M&S owns the Commercial Road site and will be putting it on the market.

Additional self-service tills have been installed at the M&S Simply Food store in Westbourne ahead of the Bournemouth store's closure.