Debenhams in Milton Keynes has remained permanently closed since the lockdown was lifted at the end of June. Spread over three floors, the vacant store is one of the biggest units inside intu Milton Keynes.
With shoppers returning to intu Milton Keynes and no confirmation on what is going to happen to the empty unit, we started a discussion on Instagram and Twitter to look at interesting ideas for the empty Debenhams. Below are a few of the interesting ideas that were submitted.
1. Indoor independent market – Gemma Hayden
“Indoor independent market, each floor different. Shopping, food court, fresh flowers and food produce.”
Despite the fact that Milton Keynes has an outdoor market, there is a demand for an indoor-market; specifically for independent businesses and traders. With three floors and ample space to use, social distancing will not be a problem as a one-way system could easily be put in place. Each floor could be themed meaning intu Milton Keynes could benefit from an independent food court offering cuisine from across the world on one floor and, fresh locally sourced flowers/food produce on another floor.
2. Indoor botanical garden – Solidpr0
“Demolish it and build a garden with a boating pond, pollinating flowers and sculptures contributed by artists across the city.”
First question… what is a botanical garden? Simply a large garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation, preservation and display of a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names. The Barbican Conservatory opened in 1984 and is an example of what an indoor botanical garden in Milton Keynes could look like.
Building an indoor botanical garden in Milton Keynes will be extremely beneficial for the people of Milton Keynes. Yes, there are plenty of outdoor spaces but a purpose built indoor garden could be used all-year-round and offer wellbeing/educational benefits to those who don’t currently have access to outdoor spaces.
3. Indoor aquarium / underwater zoo – SpeedyStartups
“Go for something big and different. An indoor aquarium like they have in Dubai mall.”
Anyone who has been to Dubai will tell you about the amazing Dubai Mall Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. A great attraction (and distraction) for children, this multi-floor underwater zoo offers free-to-view displays and paid tours. Adults and children alike are fascinated by aquatic displays. The perfect blend of entertainment and education, an indoor aquarium will tick most boxes for parents and families.
If Debenhams in Milton Keynes could be turned into an aquarium, it would certainly draw in people from near and far. It would also give shoppers somewhere to take younger children. Costs and construction would certainly hold back a project of this size but many probably said the same about Snozone in Xscape.
4. Artisan Hub – Raindrops_Ribbons_Vintage
“A place full of little independent shops from MK. Handmade, artistic, vintage and creative. A create hub for events and a quirky cafe.”
The quickest and easiest option would be to divide the empty space into shell-scheme booths that could be rented to local artists to sell artisan products. Milton Keynes has its fair share of skilled artists who create everything from handwoven textiles to personalised ceramics. Create various zones such as furniture, sculpture and jewellery to make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Add a food hall and we are on to a winner.
These are just a few interesting ideas for the empty Debenhams in Milton Keynes. What would you like to see replace Debenhams in Milton Keynes? Vote or leave your thoughts in the comments.
Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project is back for 2022
Returning for the first time since 2019, this year sees the return of Wycombe Swan’s Summer Youth Project. Running since 1993, numerous participants have gone on to have successful careers both on and off stage. Join us on our next adventure! Build confidence, develop skills, have fun, and make long-lasting friendships.
About Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project (SYP)
Over the two-week project, Wycombe Swan comes alive to the sights and sounds of 150 young people doing everything they can to put on a full-scale musical in time for curtain up!
Participants have the option of taking to the stage as a performer, or to make magic happen as part of the Technical Team.
All performances take place on our main stage in the 1,000 seated Wycombe Swan Theatre.
Only those wishing to have a principal/speaking role or be a dance captain need to audition.
Big Fish The Show
This year, the show is BIG FISH. Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton.
AUDITIONS (FOR THOSE WISHING TO HAVE A SPEAKING ROLE): Sunday 22 May
DATES: Mon 15 to Sunday 28 August
AGES: 9-21 (performers). 14-21 (technical team)
It is our wish that no young person misses out due to financial constraints. For this reason, we offer bursaries of up to 100% so that anybody can take part.
TO APPLY, AND FOR MORE INFO: Visit https://wycombeswan.co.uk/Online/summerproject
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday 13 May
The Chequers in Woolmer Green reopens after refurbishment
Wells & Co’s Hertfordshire based pub, The Chequers, is opening its doors after an extensive refurbishment. Completed works include an entirely refreshed bar and dining area, redecorated throughout to create a modern and chic look and feel to the pub located in the civil parish village of Woolmer Green. The cosy interior boasts an intimate lounge area, large dining area and an extensive garden makeover inclusive of heated spaces and high table fire pits, perfect for those late-Summer evenings.
Upstairs has been reconfigured to make room for four en-suite bedrooms for guests to book, as well as a private dining room holding up to 20 people. The new dining room is perfect for all event needs, whether its a private party, private function or even to host a work meeting.
The updated food menu features seasonal and fresh dishes inclusive of much loved pub classics like fish and chips or the ever popular 21-day aged beef burger, where the team will also be donating 25p of every burger sold to local primary school St Michael’s. Aloingside the classics the full dining menu at The Chequers includes more indulgent dishes such as cajun sweet potato, okra, and black-eyed pea gumbo, wild porcini mushroom, truffle and ricotta filled mezzaluna pasta and new daily specials.
There is also a great new range of drinks behind the bar including a range of tasty Brewpoint beers brewed just down the road in Bedford, as well as a full wine and spirits list for guests to enjoy.
Greg Knox, General Manager for the Wells & Co. site said, “The Chequers has, quite simply put, been a transformational refurbishment. The pub is ready, our food is prepped, drinks will be flowing, and our team are on hand to welcome the people of Woolmer Green and beyond, back to their much-loved pub. I can’t wait to personally welcome everyone back.”
To book a room or table at The Chequers visit the website here: https://chequerswoolmergreen.co.uk/
Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory line up has been confirmed
After a two year break, Rock in the Priory 2022 is back and will be at its usual location on the Priory Island on Sunday, 17th July.
Showcase auditions were held at Southern Maltings on the April 10th and helped determine the line-up for the main event. The organisers are grateful to all the musicians who came along to perform.
The high standard of performances made the selection process difficult. The seven bands and three acoustic acts who will be entertaining the crowds on July 17th are listed below.
Quivering Lip are a two-piece originals and cover band playing rock and brit pop anthems. Quivering Lip wrote and recorded their first 5 track album Generation Panic in 2018, following it up with a new release “Ashes” in April 2019.
Uptown Punk are a high energy, 5-piece pop/punk band, covering fan favourites from 90s to present. Their set is full of well known pop/punk tunes, with a bit of Rock thrown in. Artists covered include; Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Foo Fighters, Sum 41 and many more.
Grace is a singer, pianist and songwriter based in Hertfordshire specialising in acoustic pop, golden oldies, jazz and much more. Take a moment to listen/watch her Thinking Out Loud cover.
Other artists performing at Ware Festival’s Rock in the Priory include Adam Fearn, Mr No Face, Back to the 50s, George Croucher, Junkyard Dolls, Second Bite, The Routine.
Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory
The last Rock in the Priory was held in 2019. This annual event is known for its excellent atmosphere and energy. It takes place in the unique setting of the Island bandstand, nestled within seven acres of picturesque riverside gardens of the 14th century Ware Priory building. Tickets in advance are £5 entry or a family ticket at £15 for two adults and up to four children. Further details about Ware Festival and Rock in the Priory can be found on rockinthepriory.co.uk