CIVIC leaders have reacted with dismay after two DIY retail warehouses sited yards apart in a market town announced they will close.

B&Q, in Yafforth Road, Northallerton, said it would shut next year, while Homebase, on Willow Beck Road, has revealed it will close its doors in May.

Two former mayors of the town have voiced concerns for the out-of-town shopping area and the local economy in Northallerton, following the loss of 350 jobs at the Rural Payments Agency offices and 135 jobs with the closure of Northallerton Prison.

It remains unclear how many staff work at the stores, but it is believed about 80 employees could be facing redundancy if they can't find jobs elsewhere with the stores' parent firms.

Homebase revealed in October that it would close 80 of its 323 stores, as a number were "unprofitable or are in decline".

A Homebase spokesman said: "Following a consultation, Homebase can confirm that its store in Northallerton will close on May 2.

"We are continuing to support colleagues and we are working with them to find alternative employment within and outside of Home Retail Group."

B&Q parent company Kingfisher has announced it will close one in six B&Q stores over the next two years, putting 3,000 jobs at risk, after slow DIY sales.

Kingfisher, which has 360 B&Q stores, including ones in Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, said it planned to launch 60 outlets under its Screwfix brand this year.

A B&Q spokesman added: “Following expiry of the lease, we have informed staff at the Northallerton store that it will be closing in 2016.

"Our focus for the coming months is on redeploying as many colleagues as we can within B&Q and the Kingfisher Group.”

The announcements have raised questions about the DIY retail sector's future.

Northallerton town councillor Jack Dobson said he had been aghast to learn both stores would be closing and feared shoppers would head elsewhere due to the decline in DIY retailers in the town.

He said he feared for staff at the stores, some of whom had worked at the sites for decades.

Fellow former mayor, Councillor John Coulson added: "This is concerning for Northallerton, we have seen too much closure of places of employment in the town recently."