MARKS and Spencer has announced that it is to close its store in nearby Bolton. Given what happened to my home town Accrington once M&S pulled out, I hope that Bolton doesn’t suffer a similar decline.

When M&S left Accrington Arndale in 2016, the town centre as a retail environment effectively died.

The writing had been on the wall for a number of years, dating back to the day when the fateful decision was made to replace the large free town centre car park and create the Arndale in the first place.

What had once been a thriving town centre has gradually become a scene from The Night of the Living Dead.

No doubt Hyndburn Council will try to put a positive spin on it and cite difficulties facing businesses around the country, the effects of the pandemic, the cost of living crisis etc etc.

But Accrington appeared to sprint towards oblivion almost with gusto. There was a choice - stick with and encourage the specialist retailers who made the town somewhere worth visiting or bring in the faceless multiples which offer little and can be found everywhere.

Now we’re left with vape shops, pound shops, charity shops and mainly closed shops.

Sad thing is, it needn’t have happened.