Debenhams closure: Future of the Brunswick centre and Scarborough's retail scene to be examined

Scarborough Council and the owners of the town’s shopping centre are to work together on ways to cement the high street’s future following the loss of its biggest store.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 28th January 2021, 10:19 am
Updated Thursday, 28th January 2021, 10:22 am

Talks are underway between the authority, the Scarborough Town Centre Team and the owners of Brunswick Shopping Centre to develop a new vision for the centre after it was dealt a massive blow.

The news this week that all Debenhams branches in the country will close is of particular concern in Scarborough as the store is the anchor tenant of the Brunswick centre.

The Debenhams website and its brand has been bought by fashion retailer Boohoo but the stores are to shut with 12,000 jobs being lost across the country.

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The Brunswick centre has lost a number of tenants in the past 18 months

The Brunswick centre has lost a number of tenants in the past 18 months and the talks between its owners, the council and the Scarborough Town Centre Team will be used to consider potential new opportunities.

As part of its town centre strategy, the council is looking at ways of breathing new life into the high street so more people can be attracted to the town centre.

The Scarborough town deal investment strategy aims to broaden leisure, learning and living opportunities in the centre of the town.

The council believes rejuvenating the high street can no longer be achieved using a retail model.

The Brunswick Shopping Centre has previously been suggested as one possible location for a town centre cinema for Scarborough after plans for the town’s first multiplex on the site of the former Atlantis waterpark in Scarborough’s North Bay failed to come to fruition.

Cllr Steve Siddons, Leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said: “The permanent loss of Debenhams from town centres is sad news, but not a huge surprise.

“My thoughts are with the many people who have lost jobs as a result, especially Debenhams staff in our borough.

“We now have to think differently about how town centres are rejuvenated and how we can create a new role and purpose for the high street.

“The Town Centre Team is working closely with colleagues at the shopping centre to explore what opportunities might exist.

“We are confident places like the Brunswick Centre will continue to be at the heart of a future Scarborough town centre.”

Richard Grunwell, chairman of the Town Centre Team, added: “It is sad to hear that Debenhams will be closing; inevitably, this will have a considerable impact, not only on their staff and the Brunswick but on us all.

“The Town Centre Team has been working hard with the council and other organisations to ensure that Scarborough town centre has the bright future which the town deserves.”