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LIB DEMS URGE COUNCIL BOSSES TO TAKE ACTION OVER FUTURE OF DEBENHAMS SITE

December 1, 2020 12:59 PM
By Jeremy Hilton

Ashley Bowkett and Jeremy Hilton discuss Debenhams futureThe Liberal Democrats are urging council bosses to step in and secure the long-term future of the Debenhams site in Gloucester after the department store announced its closure.

The nationwide chain is planning on closing all its 124 stores across the country with the loss of 12,000 jobs.

Debenhams had been in administration since April and it is not known when the store in Kings Square, which has been open since 1973, will close.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: "The news that Debenhams has gone bust and the company will be wound up is dreadful news for our city centre.

"We need to act swiftly to see if we can save our store for at least a period of time. That will also give us time to properly consider the long-term future of the site and building.

"Debenhams is the anchor for King's Square and with the refurbishment of King's Square just started the last thing we need is an empty department store.

"The leader of the council and the Conservative administration must do all they can to ensure that the site remains an integral part of the shopping experience in the city and continues to trade as a department store.

"I would like to see the city council negotiating with the administrator to keep the Kings Square store open for as long as possible in order to sell off the remaining stock."

Councillor Ashley Bowkett, a member of Economic Recovery Task Force, said: "We also have to think about the many thousands of retail workers who now face the prospect of losing their jobs just weeks before Christmas.

"The closure of Debenhams comes just 24 hours after Topshop owner Arcadia went into administration putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

"The Government needs to act now as our high streets are dying."

"We Liberal Democrats are calling on the city council to prepare a short term and long term action plan to secure a strong retail presence at this location."