What next for Debenhams: Fishergate Centre owners reveal ideas for closed department store site and car park

The owners of Preston's Fishergate Centre have revealed preliminary details of their plans for the Centre's now empty Debenhams store site.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:40 pm

Martin Property Group spokesman Gary Martin said it is hoped to divide the Debenhams unit, which was sited over three floors, into separate units. He revealed proposals to build on part of the centre's car park and ambitious plans to create a new gateway entrance to the city with additions to the "public realm."

He said: "We have a number of occupiers we are in negotiation with. We are going to be splitting the space up and we will be making some announcements over the coming months over who's going to occupy that space."

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The once flagship Debenhams site on Preston's Fishergate Photo: Neil Cross

Gary, a director of Martin Property Group, continued: "With a national business and some independents I think we'll have an interesting dynamic to offer in Fishergate ... We've got a number of retail parties who are interested."

He said the group is also looking at what the future could hold for the Fishergate Centre's far rear car park area, which is accessed from the main car park and also has direct pedestrian access at its rear.

He said: "We are also looking at the car park and the potential to create some new public realm. We have a gigantic, significantly oversized car park. Our architectural team is working on plans for the car park to look at extensions of development along with the public realm. Essentially we want to create a new entrance to Preston that the city can be proud of. It's early days but we really are aware how important this site is."

Describing it as a "gateway to the city" in the "Station Quarter as it's become" Gary said: "We're engaging with all the key stakeholders to look at what's right in terms of the development site. There's still a need for the Fishergate Centre ... but retail is changing."

The Fishergate Centre neighbours Preston Railway Station

He added that the lower car park site could add to the "entrance to the city and Fishergate Centre"and said: "We have transport consultants appointed but we don't envisage at this stage altering the road network. It's a very early stage."

Gary said the group is engaging with Preston City Council and other stakeholders to: "look at what the right development for the car park is and what's going to be right for the city...I think it's going to be office and housing."

Martin Property Group bought the Fishergate Centre in April 2021.

To read about Preston Council's and Preston BID's hopes for the Centre see here Our readers have also shared their views on the future uses of the Debenhams site. For details see here* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.