Talks to develop new vision for Brunswick Centre

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Talks are underway between Scarborough Borough Council, Scarborough Town Centre Team and the owners of Brunswick Shopping Centre.

It’s to develop a new vision for the centre as traditional retail changes.

The news this week that all Debenhams branches in the country will close is a significant blow to Scarborough where the store is anchor tenant in the Brunswick centre.

The Debenhams website and its brand has been bought by fashion retailer Boohoo, which wasn’t interested in any of the bricks and mortar estate.

It means 12,000 jobs are being lost, including Debenhams staff in the borough.

Shopping habits have changed hugely in recent years and the collapse of various high street names has threatened the viability of shopping centres.

The Brunswick has seen the loss of several important tenants in the last 18 months.

Talks are now taking place between its owners, the council and the Scarborough Town Centre Team 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.

Council Leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, 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, chair of the Town Centre Team, said:

"I agree with Councillor Siddons.  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."