M&S have spoken for the first time about their planned move to bring a Food Hall to Chorley town centre.

Work to extend the shopping centre will start in the coming weeks after M&S became the second high profile business to sign up to the £12 million scheme.

Shopping centre owners Chorley Council labelled it a pivotal moment for the future of the town centre saying it’s now full steam ahead to get the eight-unit development built.

The M&S Foodhall, with click and collect service, joins the Reel Cinemas six-screen auditorium as the second major deal for the popular shopping centre.

Rob Morray, Head of Property Planning at M&S said “As we transform M&S we’re creating a conveniently located network of Food stores that offer customers great food and a next-day collect in store service for Clothing & Home purchases.

“As part of this work we’re looking forward to bringing a new Marks & Spencer to the North West by opening a Foodhall in Chorley. We’ll update the community on what our store will offer and job opportunities as plans progress.”

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “The news that Marks and Spencer has signed its contract is a major boost for the development and for the town centre as a whole.

“We’ve all seen in the media that new store openings are at a premium so for Marks and Spencer to choose Chorley shows they have a lot of confidence in what we are doing.

“With several major developments taking place in the borough, including the digital office park, this news sends out a strong message that Chorley is a place on the up and a great location for businesses to invest.”

The extension to Market Walk shopping centre, being built by Eric Wright Construction, will see eight new units created including the two taken up by M&S and Reel Cinemas.

Restaurant and bar chain Loungers has already publicly committed to joining the development too with negotiations continuing on all the units with a range of businesses including a high street restaurant chain, a high quality regional leisure/restaurant operator and a national gym chain.

The M&S store will be part of the organisation’s transformation plan to have a conveniently located network of Food stores that offer customers a next-day collect in store service for Clothing & Home purchases.

It is one of just a small number of new Food stores being progresses over this period as M&S continues to look to better serve its customers.

Alongside the shopping centre extension Chorley Council is undergoing multi-million pound improvements to the wider town centre, creating dozens of new parking spaces to accommodate extra visitors.

The shopping centre extension is due to open in time for Christmas trading in 2019.

Anyone interested in knowing more about the development should contact agents Pat Keenan of Knight Frank on 020 7861 1099 or Tim Letts of Lambert Smith Hampton on 0161 228 6411.