Published: 17:04, 15 May 2020
| Updated: 17:59, 15 May 2020
An empty former Debenhams department store has been bought by a district council for more than £2 million.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) announced today that its move for the outlet in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, had been completed.
The council has been working on the purchase for several months after first announcing it in March.
The outlet was one of four that closed across Kent alongside stores in Canterbury, Chatham and Ashford.
Since the closure, the troubled chain has once again entered administration due to the coronavirus pandemic.
FHDC says the Sandgate Road building, which cost a total of £2,050,000, will form a "centrepiece" in the town's continuing regeneration.
Proposals for the site, which closed in January, include a health centre, leisure facilities, flexible workspace and residential properties.
Cllr David Monk, FHDC Leader, said: “We’re committed to helping shape a more prosperous future for the district and this building is key to that aim.
"When Folkestone thrives as a destination the ripple effect and benefits from that will be felt throughout the district.
“Our commitment to this cause remains unwavering – despite COVID-19 – and I have every confidence that this bright future will prevail.”
The council has also announced that the windows of the store will soon be filled with vinyl displays.
The artwork that will feature is a collaboration between a number of businesses lead by the Folkestone Independent Regeneration Retail Group (FIRRG).
Martyn Jackson from FIRRG said: “This news will be welcomed by traders in Folkestone.
"I want to congratulate the council for securing a property so key to the regeneration of the town and we were delighted to be part of the team that delivered the content of the vinyls.”