On Thursday 18 July, Clague Architects hosted a public briefing and exhibition regarding the proposed redevelopment of three Canterbury city centre sites currently leased by Debenhams.
The Guildhall Quarter include plans to repurpose the Debenhams sites fronting the High Street, Guildhall Street, Buttermarket and Mercery Lane, and 11 shops better suited to today’s retailers and to develop the upper floors into 76 apartments.
The ground floor store on Guildhall Street, currently trading as Cotswold Outdoors is a building also leased by Debenhams, will remain as a shop, with proposals to create a further six apartments in the two floors above.
Held on 18 July at the former Multiyork shop in Best Lane, the exhibition welcomed 166 visitors, including members of the public, representatives from the City Council, the Canterbury BID team and local businesses.
The proposals have been brought forward by 90 North Real Estate, the property investment management company advising the owners, and Canterbury-based designers of the scheme, Clague Architects.
Karl Elliott, Managing Partner at Clague Architects, the practice which has developed the proposals, said: “The key message we took from the exhibition was that visitors were very pleased to see plans coming forward that fit well within their historic surroundings before Debenhams closes its doors.
“Nobody wants to see the site boarded up for any longer than is absolutely necessary and were pleased that there are plans to redevelop the site and strengthen the city centre’s economy.”
In January 2020, Debenhams will vacate their 93,000ft2 of retail space in the city. The premises are impractical for occupation by a single retailer with the first and second floors no longer open to the public.
Lisa Carlson, Chief Executive of Canterbury BID added: “This is an exciting opportunity for Canterbury to transform the current retail offering and inspire a new wave of customers and residents to the city of Canterbury.
“It also reflects the changing landscape for retail across the UK whereby businesses and organisations are using traditional retail space in an innovative and engaging way.
“At BID, we encourage all initiatives that will enhance our city culture and attract more footfall to Canterbury so we look forward to seeing the proposals for this site and supporting the business as the plans evolve.”
The Guildhall Quarter team is aiming to submit a planning application as soon as possible and further information can be found at www.GuildhallQuarter-Canterbury.co.uk
For further information please contact:
Andrew Metcalf, Maxim
Tel: 01892 513033