Bedford Borough Council has acquired the former Debenhams department store in Bedford in a bid to regenerate the town centre.

The 75,377 sq ft building, which was marketed with a guide price in the region of £3m, offers the potential for a mixed-use development and the addition of further floors. 

Kirkby Diamond was instructed to market the vacant property by Kroll Advisory acting as receivers.

Tom Wootton, mayor of Bedford Borough, said: “This acquisition is a crucial move in our efforts to revitalise the high street and establish a vibrant community hub. We believe that this bold step will contribute to the development of an enticing town centre experience for both residents and visitors.”

Nathan George, associate and head of agency at Kirkby Diamond’s Bedford office, said: “Although the demise of Debenhams was a sad moment, the acquisition by Bedford Borough Council marks the beginning of a new era and an opportunity to rejuvenate the town centre. The former store provides accommodation over six levels and offers a fantastic redevelopment opportunity.

“Bedford Borough Council has continued its proactive approach to economic development across the borough and has acquired the property with a view to creating a more vibrant town centre.

“The site has been included in the local plan, which considers how a scheme could potentially create smaller commercial units for retail or food/beverage occupiers, other leisure uses and residential opportunities on the upper floors.”

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