The people of Swindon have told the Adver what they would like to see replace the town centre Marks and Spencer.

The people’s voices were united, with many having grown up in Swindon alongside the 112-year-old branch of the supermarket and seen the town change.

The M&S branch closed on October 28, 2023 with 66 other stores as part of a major shake-up.

Irene said: “I would like M&S back. Anything but another charity shop. Something with interest. 

“The ideal would be a department store.”

She and a friend had just been for coffee at their favourite cafe Triple Two Coffee, but remembered better times.

“We used to come here and have a mooch around, buy a few bits. I think the high street is disgraceful these days.

“Just coffee shops, charity shops and empty shops.”

Desire for the return of M&S was echoed by another shopper, saying: “I would prefer M&S back. You might be paying a bit more but it was about the only high quality shop you had in Swindon. 

“M&S has a good name and people trusted it.

“20 odd years ago it used to be a bustling town. You used to be able to just come in and have a wonder about. It’s a shame.”

Swindon Advertiser: Marks and Spencer has been on Regent Street in some form since as far back as 1945. Picture: Swindon Libraries Local Studies

Another shopper, Martin, said: “It would be good to have something that would enhance the town centre and bring all the shoppers back in, but it is going to take more than one shop, isn't it?

“No more coffee shops, no more coffee shops, no more pound shops.”

“There’s an abundance of them.

“When I walk around I feel ashamed, upset, sad. I have lived here for 66 years and all I see is decline.”

Joanna Stagg was visiting Swindon after leaving eight years ago and visiting now felt that ‘it has changed a hell of a lot worse for the worse’.

Powel Bil, 18, spoke for the youth: “More places to go shopping for clothing would be nice. Right now you have Sports Direct and Primark, but nothing else really affordable.

“It is a good place to come with friends. To an extent. It can get pretty boring.”

The supermarket opened its Regent Street site in 1911, surviving two world wars.

One shopper said on the day of its closure that it was a sign that ‘this town has finally died’.