DEVELOPERS Simons have confirmed retail giant Marks and Spencer will become an anchor store in the proposed Charles Street development in Dorchester town centre.

The development firm behind the controversial scheme revealed it has been in negotiations with M&S over the second anchor store.

Waitrose signed up to the development in 2011.

Simons says the size of the store and servicing arrangements have been agreed and described the deal as a display of confidence in the town’s retailing future.

The proposed building will boast around 26,000 square feet of trading space over two floors including a Simply Food section at ground-floor level and a cafe on the first floor.

The three-storey building will also have a collect by car facility accessed from an undercroft car parking level.

Mark Hawthorne from Simons Developments said: “We are delighted to have exchanged contracts with M&S and this is a substantial step towards getting the scheme to work and on site.

“We also have a number of other positive conversations ongoing with other retailers and Simons will be looking to present our latest proposals to the general public in due course.”