* indicates required

‘Bold step’: Council completes purchase of former Debenhams site as part of town centre regeneration plans

BEDFORD Borough Council has completed the acquisition of the former Debenhams department store building in High Street as part of its plans to regenerate the town centre.

Tom Wootton, Mayor of Bedford Borough.

The council paid an undisclosed sum for the 75,377 sq ft property, which has been empty for three years. It had been on the market for offers in the region of £3 million.

Tom Wootton, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: “This acquisition is a crucial move in our efforts to revitalise the High Street and establish a vibrant community hub. We believe that this bold step will contribute to the development of an enticing town centre experience for both residents and visitors.”

The council’s Local Plan also includes Bedford Corn Exchange, the Harpur Suite and Bedford Central Library which form part of the same block as the former Debenhams site. The site is located in a prominent position extending from the centre of Bedford High Street to Silver Street at the start of the main pedestrianised area of the town centre.

Nathan George.

The plan considers how a scheme could potentially create smaller commercial units for retail or food and beverage occupiers, other leisure uses and residential opportunities on the upper floors.

Commercial property consultancy Kirkby Diamond was instructed to market the property by Kroll Advisory Ltd acting as LPA receivers. The property has potential for mixed-use development and the addition of more floors.

“Bedford Borough Council has continued its proactive approach to economic development across the borough and has acquired the property with a view to creating a more vibrant town centre,” said Nathan George, associate and head of agency at Kirkby Diamond’s Bedford office.

“Although the demise of Debenhams was a sad moment, the acquisition by Bedford Borough Council marks the beginning of a new era and an opportunity to rejuvenate the town centre.

“The former store provides accommodation over six levels and offers a fantastic redevelopment opportunity.”

More from Bedford:

More business news articles: