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Interesting ideas for the empty Debenhams in Milton Keynes

Lee Hall

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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.

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Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Lee Hall

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Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Harpenden based Twist Teas have announced their “Brew for a Hero” campaign is back! Launched to support and boost morale for NHS staff and key workers, the Brew for a Hero” campaign gives people a chance to show their appreciation for all the heroes from all walks of life during the current pandemic. This could be anyone – local postal workers, refuse collectors and cleaners, emergency services and health care staff, teachers and chefs, community groups and volunteers.

Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

You can participate in the “Brew for a Hero” by nominating a NHS or key workers hero you know. Nominate your hero and give them a chance to win one of Twist Teas Rainbow inspired tea caddies. If you know a key worker, that you would like to surprise with a personalised Rainbow Caddy of tea, simply email your nominations to hello@twist-teas.co.uk. Please include a brief reason, as to why they deserve a little treat. Twist Teas will again be tasked with the difficult job of picking winners, to be announced on the 31st of January.

Local business launch “Brew for a Hero” campaign for NHS & key workers

Twist Teas will also be making caddies available to purchase via their website with profits going to NHS Charities. More information about Twist Teas can be found in our interview with founders, mother and daughter duo Nicky Kavanaugh & Claire Ayers.

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Watford businesses to decide on the future of Watford BID

Lee Hall

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Welome to Watford - Watford BID

Watford BID have launched a video highlighting the reasons why they believe they deserve a second 5-year term. Many residents in Watford are aware of Watford BID but not many understand exactly what they do and more importantly, how integral their work is to the success of Watford.

What is a BID and why are they so important?

Essentially, a BID (Business Improvement District) is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a specific area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers. This levy is used to develop projects and provide services which benefit businesses in the local area. This can include:

  • Activities to increase visitors to the area
  • Reducing overall business costs for levy members
  • Marketing and promotion of the area such
  • Lobbying councils/local government
  • Working with local police to reduce anti-social behaviour

There is no limit on what projects or services that can be provided through a Business Improvement District. Some BIDS are more effective at certain tasks than others for a number of reasons but overall, the benefits BIDs offer to the various towns across Beds, Bucks & Herts is immeasurable.

Three reasons for Watford BID to get renewed

We have selected what we believe are the three main reasons why Watford BID should get renewed.

1. Watford BID offers a central point of contact

At a time when the Government don’t know if they are coming or going, having a central point for all information relating to Watford offers residents, visitors and business owners a much-needed level of clarity. Social distancing procedures and safety communication both need harmonisation to keep Watford Town safe.

Watford BID have been extremely informative on Social Media and in the district sharing key information such as this statement on the national lockdown from the Mayor of Watford.

intu Watford outlines how it will keep people safe

Typically a Business Improvement District is within a local authority boundary but in April 2013 government introduced Cross Boundary Business Improvement Districts enabling Business Improvement Districts to operate across local authority boundaries.

2. Watford Restaurants & Bars will need support after the lockdowns end

Promoting Watford’s entertainment venues post-covid is going to need a lot of collaborative support post covid. Individual businesses taking to to social media to posts and update Facebook is not going to tempt the same numbers back to the district’s nightlife venues.

By having one organisation working alongside all the venues to promote Watford as an entertainment destination, visitors will hear one concise message that Watford is open for business.

Watford Bars are going need the support of Watford BID to boost footfall post-covid

3. Think of the benefits for residents and visitors

There have been calls for BIDs across The Three Counties to do more by some levy payers but in fairness, the amount of work involved in some of the projects is not to be underestimated such as launching The Watford Gift Card.

It is also important to understand that alongside promoting what’s on in Watford and things to do in Watford, the organisation is a key source for useful information for those living in and visiting Watford.

Welome to Watford - Watford BID

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Eating

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

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Could this be a big clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage

Regardless of lockdowns and coronavirus, people want food. Fans of Five Guys could be getting a late Christmas present with a new Five Guys in Stevenage. A recent job post on the Five Guys recruitment page for a General Manager in the Stevenage area has got locals excited about the possible arrival of the much loved American Chain.

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

Could this be the biggest clue for a Five Guys in Stevenage?

Spotted by an eagled eyed member of ‘Stevenage Chit Chat‘, the advert for a General Manager drops a few clues at a possible opening of a Five Guys in Stevenage.

Google Treasure Map highlighting a empty unit perfect for a Five Guys in Stevenage

Unit 10 appears empty on Google Maps

Clue No.1 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – The perfect scene

Nothing cements a clue in a mystery more than a location. The recruitment team have placed a X on the spot and that is 51°54’02.4″N 0°12’33.7″W. For all the normal people reading this, that is Unit 10 in Stevenage Leisure Park. This was home to Pizza Hut since late 2002 but this recent Google treasure map shows the unit is currently empty.

Clue No.2 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A job for an ‘accomplice’

Did we mention there is a second job advert for a ‘Assistant Manager? If one job advert was not enough proof, two should be enough to convince you that plans are afoot for a Five Guys in Stevenage.

Clue No.3 for a Five Guys in Stevenage – A motive

What more motive do you need than hungry people in Stevenage in need of a good burger? A Five Guys in Stevenage is well overdue. It could even tempt Sir Lewis Hamilton back to Stevenage.

 

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