PLANS for the future of the empty Marks & Spencer in Bournemouth town centre were yesterday revealed – exactly two years after the store’s closure was announced.

The unit has stood empty since the brand finally pulled out of Commercial Road in April 2018.

However, THAT Group – the company behind Bournemouth’s Hilton Hotel – has now announced proposals to build offices and shops at the site.

Town council officials say they are “delighted”.

The news was announced as the future of Beales continued to remain unclear.

A spokesperson from THAT Group said: “The multi-million pound development demonstrates our commitment to regenerate this key part of Bournemouth with a comprehensive mixed use scheme, to include office, leisure, retail and commercial space with additional residential development.

“THAT Group aim to have plans submitted by summer 2020, with an expectation work could begin early spring 2021.

“The plans represent a significant investment in central Bournemouth, while safeguarding the long-term future of the iconic building with considered refurbishment and regeneration.

“The development agreement between M&S and THAT Group reflects a shared intent of ensuring a sensitive redevelopment.”

THAT Group has recently began redeveloping parts of the Daily Echo building in Richmond Hill. Areas of the historic building are now home to the THIS Workspace brand.

Officials at Marks & Spencer said: “Closing our store on Commercial Road was a difficult decision, but we are pleased to be working with THAT Group to develop exciting plans for the future of the site.”

Councillor Mike Greene, who represents residents living in the town centre, said: “I am absolutely delighted.

“We have suffered some blows to the town centre recently. However, Commercial Road is doing well, and we’re really excited about the ongoing work at the Avenue Road shopping centre, so this is great news.”