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.
Love Brownies opens new cafe and shop in St Albans
Love Brownies, a Yorkshire Dales-inspired chocolate brownie company, is to open a beautiful café and brownie shop in the heart of St Albans,creating a number of jobs and adding a premium brand to St Albans’ bustling high street.
Established in 2009, Love Brownies is known for its decadent brownies and delicious seasonal menus. Originating in the Yorkshire Dales, the brand has a growing network of brownie shops and cafés, with St Albans being the fifteenth to open in the UK. So what makes Love Brownies so outrageously delicious? It’s no secret: they bake each one individually, by hand, using the best ingredients possible.
The Love Brownies Range
The new Love Brownies shop in St Albans will offer a mouth watering menu of indulgent handmade chocolate brownies in a variety of tempting flavours, magnificent brownie milkshakes (with vegan alternatives), a range of premium, freshly-brewed coffees and the bold flavours of Northern Bloc ice cream.
Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal said: “The St Albans shop will be our first to open in Hertfordshire and we’re so excited to bring our award-winning brownies and delicious Dales-inspired menu to a brand new audience.
Inside Love Brownies St Albans
The inside of a Love Brownies is a unique blend of a cafe and shop. St Albans residents can pop in to the cafe for a drink and one of their fabulous brownies. Love Brownies merchandise and products can also be purchased in store. These include Love Brownies tea towels, Love Brownies mugs and Love Brownies aprons.
For those on the go, a delicious ‘Dales Kitchen’ breakfast and lunch menu with pastries and jam-packed sandwiches will also be available for St Albans residents.
Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal also said “The shop is in a fantastic location and we’re anticipating a busy summer! We’re so pleased to be bringing business into the area during a time that has been so difficult for so many and can’t wait to be a part of the St Albans community.”
Where to find Love Brownies in St Albans?
The new Love Brownies café will be located at Number 1, Market Place and will open to the public at 8am on Wednesday 21 July. For more information about Love Brownies or to see a sample menu visit www.lovebrownies.co.uk or follow @lovebrowniesbakery on Facebook and Instagram.
Bedford to get Euros final to make Italians feel more at home
After overcoming Denmark to reach the European final, England and their fans excitement to play Italy in the English home of football may have been dashed. UEFA have decided to move home advantage from England to Italy by demanding the Euros 2020 final takes places at Meadow Lane, Bedford instead of Wembley. Bedford is unofficially referred to a Britain’s ‘little Italy’ thanks to it large Italian population.
Why switch from Wembley to Bedford?
One of the talking points of England’s win over Denmark was the clear advantage England had over the Danes. With over 58,034 of the supporters at the game being England fans compared to the Danes 1,966, UEFA have decided that they want to remove home advantage away from England. According to UEFA’s Fair Play officials Stan Dupp and Fumagalli Enzo, switching the Euro 2020 finals from Wembley to Bedford means Italy can also benefit from playing on home soil at the same time as England.
Can Meadow Lane host 60,000 plus fans?
Absolutely not. But that is not a problem as Bedford High street will be pedestrianised and large screens will be erected all the way down to the embankment.
Ahead of the clash, England fans heading to Bedford have been advised to brush up on their Italian so we have created a ‘Nine step guide to speaking Italian’ below. These are probably the only nine words you will need to know for the game.
Nine steps to speaking Italian
Wendover welcomes Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion opening
Today marks the opening of Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion in the historic market town of Wendover. Located in Buckinghamshire, it becomes the seventh site in the popular Bel & The Dragon group.
Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, the new country inn will emulate Bel & The Dragon’s distinctly cosy and classic manner and will be managed by Matt Coupland, an experienced General Manager.
Inside Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover
With 23 beautiful en suite bedrooms and an extensive selection of fine wine and British food, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will be a sought-after destination for weekday and weekend breaks. Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is a historic grade II-listed coaching inn with stunning features dating back to 1669 and possibly earlier, with much of the original building still standing.
Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion has been sensitively restored this year, with the aim of providing a premium, contemporary English inn, with sophisticated charm and historic character and also offers alfresco dining with 160 covers in a beautifully created covered and heated patio area.
Dining at Bel & The Dragon Wendover
With an emphasis on provenance and quality, our team of talented chefs have created a menu full of modern adaptations of simple classics. Think Devonshire mussels in a cider and bacon broth to start, followed by sustainable Cornish fish and crayfish pie or salt-baked saddle of lamb with seasonal vegetables to share, as well as a range of daily specials.
The pudding menu will be full of theatre, including the Bel & The Dragon classic of a flaming Baked Alaska, served with salted caramel ice cream, providing a perfect end to any meal.
As with all Bel & The Dragon sites, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will offer an outstanding selection of wines at competitive prices. In addition, the comprehensive From the Cellar list includes some of the greatest vintages of the world’s most sought-after wines, and the use of the Coravin system allows guest to sample rare wines by the glass.
Word from the General Manager
Matt Coupland, who is originally from Lincoln, moved down to join Fuller’s eight years ago at The Paper Mill at Apsley Lock near Hemel Hempstead. After completing the Fuller’s Management Training Programme, and having acted as a holding manager at The Paper Mill, he moved to The Six Bells at Thame for his first general manager appointment. He subsequently moved to The Red Lion in Wendover and has played a key role in its transformation to a Bel & The Dragon.
Matt said: “This is a dream come true for me – it’s a fantastic site, in a great area, and Bel & The Dragon is an outstanding brand. I can’t wait to bring our fantastic menu and excellent wine list to the great and good of Wendover, and our stunning bedrooms to those who want to come and visit.
“I’m really looking forward to welcoming back locals and visitors alike and to working with the local neighbourhood to ensure Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion takes a place at the very heart of the community.”
Directions to Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover
Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is an easy commute from within Beds, Bucks & Herts.
Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion address
9 High St, Wendover, Aylesbury HP22 6DU