Plans to convert Debenhams into an 80-bed hotel and eight new retail units have been submitted to Stratford District Council, two months after the idea was first proposed by the developers of Bell Court.
A double application from Blue Coast Capital detailing the project was submitted last week, though it will likely be a few weeks before the finer details of the proposal are available to view.
In addition to the hotel and retail units on both Wood Street and Taskers Way, the plans also envisage 10 new residential units being built in the upper floors of the building.
Earlier in the year Debenhams told the Herald their Stratford store would likely close in 2021, because of Blue Coast Capital’s plans to redevelop the building.
However Blue Coast Capital insisted that their plans for the Debenhams building were intended as a contingency measure, because of uncertainty surrounding the retailer nationally.
John Stacey, UK Real Estate Director for Blue Coast Capital said this week: “Continuing uncertainty over the future of Debenhams poses a very considerable risk – not only to Bell Court but to the town itself.
“Only by making comprehensive plans to bring a mix of high quality development to Bell Court, can we ensure that the town centre is not blighted by an abandoned building in such a prominent position but benefits from a vibrant range of uses and new jobs, should Debenhams choose to close in the near future.
“I would like to thank the many local residents and businesses who gave up their valuable time to view our plans and complete an online comment form. Their views and comments have been invaluable.”
A spokesperson from Debenhams this week said: “Following the decision of the landlord to redevelop the site, we now expect our Stratford store to close at some point in the next couple of years. We have informed our colleagues and will keep customers updated as soon as any firm decisions are made. We had hoped to keep the store open for longer but the landlord has decided to use the space for other purposes.”
The plans for the Debenhams building have garnered a mixed reception from hoteliers in the town, while Joe Baconnet director of Stratforward BID has warned that an influx of new hotel rooms in Stratford may have an effect on pricing.