THE group representing Hereford’s businesses has said the new plans for the Debenhams shop in the Old Market Shopping Centre could bring 300 staff to the city centre.

British Land, which owns the shopping centre, said it wants to turn the upper floors of the shop into offices.

The 83,000 square-foot shop has been shut since Debenhams collapsed into administration.

Herefordshire-based MandM Direct could be new tenants of the offices, if plans are given the green light.


And now Mike Truelove, chief executive of Hereford Business Improvement District, said: “If the deal proceeds, it will truly be fantastic news for Hereford and bring up to 300 new staff who will of course shop and support the city as well as bring life to a location that has been empty for too long.

“It is a win-win situation for everyone.

“Retail is changing and the imaginative repurposing of the upper levels of our city self-serves the interest of all shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants that will continue to offer the vibrant and cultured experience visitors wish to see.

“Further, our own data indicates that the vacancy rate in Hereford has not increased since records began in 2015 – we count shops regularly and know that on the occasions where a national shop moves out, an independent retailer moves in.

“While no one wants to see any business leave Hereford, we are seeing strong and confident demand from independents, willing to try out their ideas but rightly demanding some flexibility in return”.

Mike Tomkins, Chairman at MandM Direct, commented: “We are delighted with the opportunity to partner with British Land on this project. MandM Direct is a major local success story and this move will support the next phase of our journey.”