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Former Bristol Debenhams update as mayor says conversations are 'ongoing'

By Estel Farell Roig

Conversations are "ongoing" in the sale of the former Debenhams building in Bristol city centre.

The former Debenhams branch in the city centre closed down in May last year, going up for sale just days after its permanent closure. It was one of 49 branches across the UK to close after the long-running retailer chain fell into administration.

Speaking at a briefing yesterday (May 11), city mayor Marvin Rees said that conversations are ongoing regarding the building on The Horsefair in Broadmead.

Read more: Former Bristol Debenhams will form part of city centre regeneration

He said: "They [the sellers] are obviously looking to get a return on their investment, we say 'we recognise that you need to get that return, but what happens to that building has to be in line with Bristol's broader needs and ambitions'."

A blueprint is being drafted to shape the future of development in a part of Bristol city centre, affecting landmarks including the Galleries, the Bearpit and the former Debenhams store. Bristol City Council is currently seeking opinions as it looks to draw up a plan for the area's regeneration and, when appealing to the public earlier to take part, Mr Rees spoke of the council's ambition to make the area safer, healthier, greener and "fit for the future".

Mr Rees added this week: "We’ve been very clear that whatever happens with Debenhams has to fit within our plans for the city centre.

“We’ve been out talking to people, we have opened the doors asking people to come forward with their ideas on what the centre of the city needs to look like - the future of that city centre around Broadmead is going to be more mixed.

“It is going to be a mix of destinations, there’s going to be residential in there as well as some retail - but we have too much retail space in the city anyway.”

The Debenhams closure was to be followed by another blow to the city centre when M&S announced last October it was to shut its Broadmead store in January after nearly 70 years.

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