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.