A DECISION has been made on the future of Hereford's empty Debenhams shop in Old Market Shopping Centre.

It was revealed earlier this summer that British Land had been in talks with Herefordshire-based online fashion retailer MandM Direct about the empty shop.

Plans submitted to Herefordshire Council showed the shopping centre, owned by British Land, wanted to turn the two upper floors of the unit left empty when Debenhams went in to administration into offices.


If approved, plans said MandM Direct would move from its current head office in Leominster to the shopping centre in a bid to attract staff.

Herefordshire Council has now given the go-ahead for the changes, which will see new windows facing Newmarket Street, as well as a new doorway.

Inside, the escalator from the ground floor to the first floor of the Debenhams unit will be removed and infilled.


In the only objection to the plans, Hayley Thomas, of Church Street in Leominster, said the old Debenhams shop should be turned into "anything but more offices".

She suggested that smaller units with individual shops, an activity centre for children, a large cafe or a clothing store might be better.

Planning officer Simon Rowles said the "appropriately designed" changes to the outside of the building would improve interest in the unit and provide a more active frontage on a major road junction.


He said the new use for the building would suit the "changing needs" of the shopping centre.

Development manager Simon Withers granted permission with conditions, including one that means matching materials, cladding profiles and colours and finishes must be used.

Herefordshire Council has already agreed to plans for 119 parking spaces to be given to staff to park for free on weekdays