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Council launches competition to re-name Folkestone Debenhams

A competition has launched to re-name a former Debenhams store, which closed down at the beginning of the year.

The large empty shop, in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, was one of four in Kent to shut in January as part of the chain's downsizing plans.

Folkestone Debenhams on its last weekend of trading in January. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone Debenhams on its last weekend of trading in January. Picture: Paul Amos

The others that closed were in Ashford, Canterbury and Chatham.

In March, the vacant Folkestone store was purchased by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) for just over £2m.

The authority is planning on transforming it into a mixed use development, which could include a health centre, leisure facilities, flexible work space and residential properties.

The plans are currently being worked on.

And while the building still remains empty, a vinyl 'window wrap' designed to promote the struggling town centre was installed in the shop in May.

Workers remove the Debenhams sign at the Folkestone store in January this year - the shop has been empty ever since. Picture credit: Legends of Folkestone Facebook page
Workers remove the Debenhams sign at the Folkestone store in January this year - the shop has been empty ever since. Picture credit: Legends of Folkestone Facebook page

Today, FHDC has announced it is holding a competition and inviting residents to name the historic building, which has Edwardian and Art Deco features.

The council says that the site is "intended to become a thriving centrepiece for the town’s ongoing regeneration", and as such its chosen name needs to be able to suit a number of different uses.

A spokesman for the council said: "The council is keen to hear all ideas - a name inspired by Folkestone’s culture or heritage for example, or a name that reflects its seaside location.

"Perhaps it will be a name which represents the town’s future or named after someone or something from the area."

Leader of FHDC Cllr David Monk added: “We are delighted to have acquired the building earlier this year and by doing so secure its future as a central part of Folkestone’s regeneration.

"We are now seeking a new name to reflect a new era for this iconic building.

The new vinyl window display at Folkestone's former Debenhams store was installed in May
The new vinyl window display at Folkestone's former Debenhams store was installed in May

"We would like to ask the community to help us find a really memorable and meaningful name for the site and we will consider all suggestions."

A panel of judges will select the winning entry, with the winner also set to receive £100 as a voucher to spend in a Folkestone town centre shop of their choice.

More details, terms and conditions and an online entry form can be found at www.folkestoneandhythe.co.uk/debenhams-naming-competition.

Entries can also be posted to Corporate Communications, Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone CT20 2Q.

Entries should include your name, age (if under 16), address, daytime telephone number and a brief description of why you have chosen the name (up to 50 words).

The deadline for entries is Monday, August 31 and the winner will be unveiled in September.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone


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