Fringe Box



Letter: The Guildford Society Has Ideas About the Future of The Debenhams Site

Published on: 5 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 5 Dec, 2020

M&G own the Debenhams Store

From: Alistair Smith

In response to: As Debenhams Dies, There Are Hopes of a New Life For the Building

The Guildford Society is gratified at growing support, both public and private from politicians of various persuasions, for the ideas published by the Society on this site in the summer.

The Society has been doing further work on the critical issue of the economics of redeveloping Debenhams as a mixed-use site.

We hope to discuss with the council Guilford Economic Regeneration Programme (GERP) shortly. A redeveloped Debenhams Site could be one of the ‘anchors’ for the Town Centre for the future.

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Responses to Letter: The Guildford Society Has Ideas About the Future of The Debenhams Site

  1. Ross Connell Reply

    December 5, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    If possible it should be converted to affordable residential flats via a housing association with options for shared ownership and rental with a view to buying. It already has the benefit of underground car parking.

    Whatever the future holds it should not incur costs to local council taxpayers. It should be self-funding.

    • Pam Powles Reply

      December 7, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Use some of the building to incorporate extra theatre space in cooperation with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and similar venues and car parking.

      Cater for families and the elderly and include a well organised safe place for leisure and some shopping.

  2. Kalwant S Ajimal Reply

    December 6, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    The possible conversion of the Debenhams site into flats has long been public question. Many questions remain unresolved because the value of the property will have fallen, I think. Does the site have a “magnetic” pull?

  3. Andrew Lewis Reply

    December 6, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Turn it into an indoor market for small shops and stalls, with cafes, food shops, bakes, street type vendors. Do not charge rent for the first year in order to generate footfall, profits and to gain interest from the whole of the South East.

  4. George Evans Reply

    December 7, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    The place is big enough for shops/market on the ground floor annd then put flats above. This has been done in many other places, including Guilford such as the Friary Centre.

  5. Sue Warner Reply

    December 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Whatever they decide to do, it should be no taller than the current building. No oversize skyscrapers please.

  6. Roger Main Reply

    December 9, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    I have just read that the Debenhams site has been sold for £20 million. I ran the store for over 15 years and was totally involved in its modernisation 2000.

    The demise of the company was down the Equity Financiers who landed the company with huge debts over £800 million, and sold on the leases as in Guildford. And with a huge rent, and I mean huge.

    I wish all the hard working staff well for the future and thank them for their loyalty.

    A word of caution to the new owners, I wish you every success when dealing with the local council. They did not make it easy for us to modernise what was then a store in need of refurbishment, in fact they made it very difficult. The company had to go to appeal, which it lost due the then strong lobby in the town who did not like change.

    This is a prime site that now lends it self to development of luxury flats. I wish the developers well hoping the borough council has now moved into the real world .

  7. Alan Cooper Reply

    December 11, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    After they contend with this, perhaps they could address the issue of the plot of land At the bottom of Portsmouth Road (formerly CEGB). It’s nearly an acre in size.

    I am not sure I agree with Roger Main regarding the council not liking change. Over the years several buildings with some history have been demolished, from the church in North Street where a branch of Barclays Bank now stands, to the former school/church hall in Woking Road.

    The one that should be demolished is the dreadful Casino Nightclub on Onslow Street. It’s an eyesore.

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