A DECISION to move Marks and Spencer out of Bicester's town centre has sparked a backlash from residents.

More than 100 people have signed a petition in just two days to keep the store on the town's high street.

It comes after the brand announced it would be closing the Sheep Street food store in favour of moving to a new shop unit being built on the edge of Bicester.

A spokeswoman for the brand said the move to the new Kingsmere Retail Park, being built off the A41, would offer 'a better shopping experience' for customers.

She added the new shop will be more convenient for customers and have a bigger selection, and parking outside.

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But dozens of residents disagree and a petition has now been set up in a bid to halt the closure planned for next year.

The petition online, set up by Liam Hine, said: "As a community Bicester is facing many challenges in the modern era, however the most pressing of these is surely the recent revelation that we stand to lose or town centre M&S.

"Whether you're a child who pops in to pillage porky packaged confectionary, or a golden oldie thinking "oh crumbs" at the thought of buying biscuits at B&M; we all have one thing in common.

"We need to save M&S Bicester."

The petition attracted 100 supporters within two days and as this paper went to print it had 171 signatures.

One commenter said: "I do not drive so will not be able to get to the new store. I shop weekly in here and would miss it greatly."

Another added: "A lot of elderly people use this shop as they walk there from the nearby care home as a lot of people will not have cars to get to the new one out of town."

Many other residents signed and said it was a vital part of Bicester's town centre and would be a significant loss to the high street.

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Another commenter added: "Very handy in town, keeping this wont take away from the new store."

The decision came as part of the plans to build a new £40million retail park off the A41.

Plans include space for Next and Marks & Spencer Simply Food, plus another shop yet to be named, a gym and a restaurant.

For details of the petition go online to http://bit.ly/2FrQQY3