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Debenhams Hereford set to close down permanently following a deal with online Boohoo Group.


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The Boohoo Group has acquired the collapsed Debenhams department store chain for £55M.

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The fashion retailer has bought the Debenhams brand and website but it will not take on any of the firm's remaining 118 stores or its staff.

We hope that the staff all manage to find jobs during this already challenging time.

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  • Hereford Voice changed the title to Debenhams Hereford set to close down permanently following a deal with online Boohoo Group.

I have stayed away from this forum for a good while after taking abuse for opposing the Old Market development. However, although it gives me little pleasure in saying ‘I told you so’, I told you so!

The clamour for The Old Market was predicated on the (perceived) need for larger retail units - something the city was deemed not to offer. The development was pushed through by a Council blind to the fact that retail was changing and online shopping was taking hold. Existing retailers were poached from the historic centre and the usual bunch of formula retailers and restaurants were assembled on a site virtually gifted to British Land by a Council desperate to produce a landmark project. 

Now, ten years later, we know large retail units and national restaurant chains are the last thing we need. As we tried to argue a decade ago, Hereford’s future lies with small, independent retailers and local restaurants and pubs. 

The challenge now is how to unravel the blighted Old Market development. The University? Hotel and Conference centre? New Library and Museum? New indoor leisure facilities? Definitely not ‘more of the same’ doomed lookalike retail and eating offers. 

 

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Housing would be good - though it might cost a lot to make the buildings suitable, For example, not much thought was given to energy efficiency in the design., If they had been proper northlight roofs - as on the original buildings - it would have been easy to fit solar panels.

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Excellent post indeed from Harry! I also like his idea about a New Library & Museum, to which you could add Art Gallery. The problem is, the finances for these things never seem to stack up, but I have always thought it to be a terrible shame that the Museum Resource Centre has so many fascinating artefacts and paintings with a local connection, which rarely see the light of day. I have long thought we need to have a conversation about how our City should look in 10-20 years time, where multi-national retail outlets will be in the decline.

Of course, COVID will bring this debate to the fore, however many hope that retail will only take up a proportion of the space, which can also be dedicated to the Arts & Science, Culture & Nature, Recreation as well as Retail...

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On 25/01/2021 at 17:39, Harry Beynon said:

I have stayed away from this forum for a good while after taking abuse for opposing the Old Market development. However, although it gives me little pleasure in saying ‘I told you so’, I told you so!

The clamour for The Old Market was predicated on the (perceived) need for larger retail units - something the city was deemed not to offer. The development was pushed through by a Council blind to the fact that retail was changing and online shopping was taking hold. Existing retailers were poached from the historic centre and the usual bunch of formula retailers and restaurants were assembled on a site virtually gifted to British Land by a Council desperate to produce a landmark project. 

Now, ten years later, we know large retail units and national restaurant chains are the last thing we need. As we tried to argue a decade ago, Hereford’s future lies with small, independent retailers and local restaurants and pubs. 

The challenge now is how to unravel the blighted Old Market development. The University? Hotel and Conference centre? New Library and Museum? New indoor leisure facilities? Definitely not ‘more of the same’ doomed lookalike retail and eating offers. 

 

Personally, I Love the Old Market, it was something new and exciting for the city, I do not believe that existing large chains were 'poached' they saw an opportunity and took it. Why would you not be attracted by a brand new building with initial concessions on the rent?

The problem is that it was all disjointed from the start and should have incorporated the existing shops in the city centre Example; They could have had a walkway directly from the Multi-storey car part straight across the road directly into Maylord Orchards, this would have prevented people waiting at the lights at the Wellington Pub and constantly stopping the flow of traffic. I mentioned this in a council meeting that I was invited too once to be sniggered at and told by another councillor that English Heritage would not allow a walkway to be built over the top of the ancient city walls, to which I replied they allowed Tesco to build actually within the walls! There was no further response from that councillor...

I was disappointed like many people that the Old Market was not covered with a roof! It should have been all in door, they could have had apartments on the roof. Car park should have been FREE for the first two hours providing you purchase goods etc..

When I travel to shopping centres in Europe nearly all parking is Free, in Poland they actually provide free buses across he cities to collect shoppers.

The demise of many of these large retailers does not lay at the door of the old Market but at the poor management and greedy CEO's of these companies.

How many time have you been in a shop, you cannot find what you are looking for or you cannot find your size clothing so you then ask an assistant to help you to immediately then be told by that person 'Oh you can buy this online', I always tell that person that if they tell too many people the same thing they will put themselves out of a job...

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I agree with Colin. The design of the Old Market neglected to merge it with the historic centre. However, those who were involved in the preliminary debates will remember we were promised BlueschoolStreet/Newmarket Street would be downgraded to a ‘leafy boulevard’ with vehicles tricking by at walking pace. We were told the bulk of traffic would be diverted along the new inner ring-road! Of course, none of this has happened and the Old Market exists as a separate entity. It will now wither as a severed limb unless those plans to bring it within the central core are revisited. 
 

 

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