// Debenhams store in Highcross Shopping Centre to be transformed into 305 flats
// The site has been empty since Debenhams went into administration in March 2020
The former Debenhams store in Leicester’s Highcross Shopping Centre is set to be demolished and redeveloped into 305 flats.
The site has been empty since the retailer went into administration in March 2020, and Highcross owner Hammerson has been working with Leicester City Council to redevelop the unit.
The council has approved a plan to replace the former shop, and part of the adjacent car park, with homes.
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The flats complex will be formed in three stages at eight, 11 and 12 storeys high, a slight decrease from the 15-storey building outlined in the original plans.
A second application has been submitted to the council requesting permission to use the upper and lower ground floor of the building to create four smaller shopping units.
Planning officers said it was unlikely the space could be quickly brought back into use as a department store.
“It is clear that the current retail environment is challenging and that the demand for department store floorspace has declined in recent years,” they said.
“If the former Debenhams store unit was to be left vacant in the hope that a suitable occupier would come forward, a long-term, large, vacant unit could harm the vitality and viability of the city centre.
“Instead, the proposed demolition and new residential and commercial development would secure investment and regeneration in the surrounding area, whilst contributing to the city’s overall housing need.”
The complex will contain 10 studios flats, 172 one-bed flats, 107 two-bed flats and 16 three-bed flats.