Published: 12:29, 26 April 2019
| Updated: 12:57, 26 April 2019
Business bosses say Ashford's Debenhams store would be big enough to accommodate a Primark.
The huge County Square site - which goes over three storeys - is set to shut in 2020 after the struggling department chain today announced 22 of the 50 stores it plans to close across the country.
But shoppers have long called for a Primark to open in Ashford and business chiefs think the shop could suit the clothing giant.
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Jo James, chief executive of the Sevington-based Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, says Primark would attract people to the town.
She told KentOnline earlier this month: "I would like to see another big chain go in there.
"Debenhams is a very sizeable store, it would have the space to accommodate Primark if Ashford is a proposition to them, but it is in such close proximity to other stores, with stores already in Folkestone and Canterbury."
The Debenhams announcement comes as another blow for Ashford town centre with M&S having already announced it will close its County Square store next Saturday.
Shopper Daniel Latter from Kennington says the announcement is a shame.
He said: "They keep closing these shops but we have so many barbers, estate agents and cafes in the town. What are they going to put in there?
"I think there'll be a hole in the town centre.
"Not everybody uses online shopping, especially the older generation. People used to come and have a look around the whole shop.
"The town is growing well. I was born here and it was just a little market town. It's growing and growing and they should have the shops to represent that."
Barbara Jeffrey, from Tenterden, agreed, saying "there's nothing to go to the town centre for".
She said: "It's very bad, especially with M&S closing as well
"I am concerned. I'd have to go to Maidstone or Tunbridge Wells and that's quite a long way.
"Debenhams is a good shop, and a lot of women feel the same way as I do - that no one will come here anymore if these two shops go."
Jennifer Waldron, of Chartfields, says she would love to see a Primark.
She said: "Debenhams is a pretty big store and I liked the cafe upstairs, where I take my kids from time to time.
"I'd love a Primark, that'd be my option.
"There's not a lot there, in all honesty I think Debenhams is for the older generation mainly and it's quite expensive.
"It's a household name so it should leave a big gap.
"It doesn't look very positive."
KentOnline has approached Primark for comment.
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