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Councillors to debate future of Debenhams building

March 10, 2021 3:59 PM
Councillors Ashley Bowkett and Jeremy Hilton outside Debenhams in Kings SquareCouncillors are set to discuss the future of the Debenhams store in Gloucester city centre later this month.
Liberal Democrat councillors have tabled a motion to be debated at a meeting of the city council on March 18.
The motion calls on city council leaders to work with whoever buys Debenhams to retain, restore and repurpose the building.
It also calls on the council to block any attempt to demolish the Art Deco building for redevelopment.
The department store in Kings Square is facing closure after Debenhams went into administration and the brand was bought by online fashion retailer Boohoo Group.
All 124 stores across the country will close with the loss of 12,000 jobs as Boohoo relaunches Debenhams as an online-only retailer later this year.
The building, which has been trading as Debenhams since 1973, is adjacent to the £110 million King's Quarter regeneration scheme and could be a key part of that project.
It is the largest store in the city and is owned by Aviva, with recent reports suggesting it is up for sale.
The site is also listed as a 'positive building' - meaning it cannot be demolished without permission from Gloucester City Council.
The motion has been tabled by Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Jeremy Hilton.
"There has been speculation the Debenhams building has been sold but the sale has not been confirmed by either Aviva or the new buyer," Councillor Hilton said.
"It's clear that high street shop trade is changing but we must do everything we can to get retail back onto the ground floor at least.
"The building itself is important and we want the city council to publicly commit to ruling out demolition should the new owner seek permission to bulldoze the building."
Councillor Ashley Bowkett, Liberal Democrat economic growth spokesman, has seconded the motion.
"Whatever the future holds for the Debenhams building we want it to continue to act as an anchor for the rest of Kings Square," he added.
Here is the motion in full:
"This council notes that the Debenhams brand has been bought by Boohoo.
That all 124 stores across the country will close with the loss of 12,000 jobs as Boohoo relaunches Debenhams as an online-only retailer later this year.
That the Gloucester department store building is currently owned by Aviva who have put it up for sale.
There is speculation that the building has been sold, but as of the 3rd March a sale hasn't been confirmed by either a buyer or Aviva.
The previous day the leader of the council confirmed that he did not know whether the building had been sold.
The Debenhams department store is listed as a positive building within the city centre conservation area, though its service yard is regarded as a negative aspect off St Aldate Street.
The department store cannot be demolished without the council's consent.
This council agrees to work closely with the new owners to retain, restore and repurpose the building.
This council also confirms that it would oppose the demolition of the Debenhams building."
Proposed Jeremy Hilton
Seconded Ashley Bowkett