Plea for galleries, studios and arts space at former Debenhams store

Oxford Street must now have ‘something special, something unique’

Monday, 7th June 2021 — By Tom Foot

Debenhams store in Oxford Street

The Debenhams flagship store, abandoned after the liquidation

THE new owners of the former Debenhams store in Oxford Street have been urged to include space for artists and film-makers after early plans were unveiled.

Plans to refurbish and extend the 1970s building for “flexible workspaces” have been unveiled by a developer.

Westminster Labour group had wanted the entire building to be transformed into a flagship “cultural hub”, an attraction that would draw crowds back to the West End after the pandemic.

The calls came amid a debate about whether retail was the future of one of the world’s most famous high streets.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour’s city management spokesperson, said: “If the shoppers and the tourists are going to be attracted back to Oxford Street it will need something special, something different and something unique.”

He suggested plans for crafts studios, fashion, film, and photography galleries and new performance space.

Debenhams abandoned its flagship building following the company’s liquidation in February.

Now 334 Ramsbury Oxford Limited and Capital Real Estate Partners are funding the Oxford Street project along with architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM).

AHMM have put early plans for the building out for consultation ahead of a planning application to the Westminster Council.

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