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Interesting ideas for the empty Debenhams in Milton Keynes



Debenhams in Milton Keynes

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.

Milton Keynes Indoor market

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.

Could Debenhams in Milton Keynes be turned into this?

Could Debenhams in Milton Keynes be turned into this?

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.

Debenhams in Milton Keynes

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.

Lover of all things FAST. If I am not in the office, you can find me near a track or under a car. I also work with great people in TrendLife's Editorial team.


Film & Theatre

Milton Keynes Theatre opens Auditions for 14 to 19 year olds




Young people aged 14 to 19 are invited to audition to be part of the MKT Academy Young Company, offering them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in staging a professional production, from the audition to the final curtain.

Participants will work with director Kitty Benford between January and April 2022 to create their own version of the play Like There’s No Tomorrow for NT Connections. The play was originally devised by the Belgrade Young Company with Justine Themen, Claire Procter and Liz Mytton. The Young Company will perform their new production at Milton Keynes Theatre and the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, with the potential to perform at the Connections showcase at the National Theatre in London.

Alexandra Snell, Senior Creative Learning Manager said: “We are really excited to have been selected to take part in NT Connections 2022 and can’t wait to work with a brand-new group of local young people. This topical play feels extremely relevant to our current generation and I am sure the company will make something truly innovative.”

Like There’s No Tomorrow will be a fast paced and vibrant show that focuses on young people and how they feel about climate change and the inaction of the adults around them. This production by MKT Academy Young Company will highlight the unique relationship that Milton Keynes has with the topics of climate change and capitalism, as well as exploring the links our citizens have to other parts of the world that are impacted by climate change. The show will be high energy, feature ensemble storytelling, movement and music and hopes to gather all the resources required in an eco-friendly manner.

Milton Keynes Theatre

Auditions are taking place on Saturday 8th January between 11am and 2pm. To book your place in the audition workshop, email
As well as performers, Milton Keynes Theatre would like to hear from young people with an interest in directing and stage managing.

Milton Keynes Theatre is also looking for local sponsors to support this exciting project, which would offer young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to take part. If you would like to help, please contact the theatre’s Sales and Development Manager, Linda Davies on:

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What the jingle bells is going on at The Galleria?



What the jingle bells is going on at The Galleria?

The true identity of a very festive intruder, spotted on CCTV arriving at The Galleria, has now been confirmed as none other than Santa’s most esteemed helper… the scout Elf! As per Christmas tradition, the scout Elf has been tasked with keeping an eye on guests…he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice! And this year, it seems that Elf has decided to take residence at The Galleria for the month of December – watching guests, appearing here and there around the centre and of course already getting up to his world-renowned mischief!

To celebrate the Elf’s arrival, The Galleria has launched an official Elf Hunt and is encouraging Elf hunters to take s-Elfies and share them on social media with the hashtag #GalleriaElf.

Chief Officer of Christmas at The Galleria, commented: “When we arrived at the outlet on 1st December, we were stunned to find one of Santa’s infamous scout elves had moved in overnight. We’re incredibly excited at his arrival and have launched The Galleria Elf Hunt, inviting guests to seek out his hiding spots. So far the elf has stayed true to his reputation of causing a bit of havoc so we’ll make sure we keep an eye on him during his stay.”

The Galleria in Hatfield

As well as the Elf Hunt, guests to The Galleria can enjoy seasonal entertainment from local community groups on selected dates along with supporting East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals Charity and Lister Hospital’s Children’s Ward by donating a Christmas gift at The Giving Tree.

For more information about the Elf Hunt and Christmas events at The Galleria, visit

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The Gym offers Three Counties the chance to go ‘swear zero”



The Gym offers Three Counties the chance to go 'swear zero"

Winter is coming, Christmas is calling, and while Santa is still busy in his workshop, The Gym Group has a present for the nation that will spread yuletide cheer and positive energy in equal measure.

To keep everyone feeling good, both mentally and physically this Christmas, The Gym Group has teamed up with sustainable business owner Montana Brown to launch its campaign for the festive season, Sweat Zero. Montana has swapped the board room for the iron paradise and in partnership with The Gym Group, is offering everyone, no matter what their fitness goals, the chance to zero out on all the goodies and treats we all deserve to enjoy.

To make good on this promise, from today, The Gym is offering 5,373 free three-day passes, to those in the South East of England including The Three Counties – which is exactly the same number of average calories consumed by an adult on Christmas Day.

Speaking about the partnership, Montana said: “After the wash out that was last Christmas, we all deserve to celebrate this year. But finding a balance between keeping active and indulging can be very difficult (especially for me as I love Yorkshire puddings!). That’s where Sweat Zero from The Gym Group comes in as it’s helping the nation to enjoy the festive fitness period with free passes, allowing you to give the gym a go. No matter who you are, your shape or size, The Gym Group will help you stay active and get your body moving this Christmas so we can look after our bodies physically and mentally to make the most of the big day / the whole Christmas period in my case.”

Like the term Net Zero, Sweat Zero is all about helping to strike a balance between living your life and being fit and healthy by removing any of the guilt which can come after some serious Christmas overindulgence. Whether you want to burn off the Baileys or bench press the brussels with a three-day free pass guests can visit any of the 200 nationwide The Gym Group venues, to experience their high spec kit across cardio, weightlifting, toning and class zones plus unlimited classes and access to a team of highly qualified personal trainers.

Redeeming the free three-day pass is super simple. Just visit The Gym group website, find a gym near you, choose a day passes membership and three-day pass, then select the dates and enter the promo code SWEATZERO.

The Gym locations in the Three Counties

The Gym Bedfordshire

The Gym Luton

The Galaxy Centre
1 Bridge Street C1
Luton LU1

The Gym Bedford

Alban Retail Park
London Rd
MK42 0NW

The Gym Buckinghamshire

The Gym High Wycombe

Red Lion House
Castle Street
High Wycombe
HP13 6RF

The Gym Aylesbury

6-8 Great Western Street
Friars Square Shopping Centre
HP20 2PU

The Gym Milton Keynes

Phoenix House
Elder Gate
Milton Keynes

The Gym Hertfordshire

The Gym Watford

Imperial Park Imperial Way
WD24 4JF

The Gym Hemel Hempstead

Leisure World Jarman Way
Hemel Hempstead
Hemel Hempstead

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