You have no doubt heard the announcement regarding the closure of the Folkestone Debenhams store in early 2020. My thoughts and heart go out to all the staff who work there. They have had to endure a game of corporate monopoly played out in the media creating uncertainty and anxiety about the future of their jobs.
Although it is a while away before the store closes, I just personally hope all those able to find another job, do so. If elected on May 2nd I will do everything in my power to assist the staff.
Sources inside the council inform us, they’ll purchase the building within a year, for a rough price between £1.8 million to £2.2 million, based on calculations for empty properties. With rents at £400 per metre² the council anticipates it’ll make them a nice little earner. However, just because the economy sits fair momentarily doesn’t mean it’ll be like that when they purchase the building next year between March – May 2020/21. Circumstances change and sometimes all too fast.
Nobody wishes to see an empty shop on a high street. Folkestone had 50 empty shops when I first started my campaign. . Folkestone received a Rising Star Award in the 2015 Great British High Street of the Year Awards – for boosting collaboration across the town. And look where we are now after a further five years of the Tories in charge.
The building is owned by a charity, the ultimate controller, according to Companies House documents is Sir Weis, – see image above. Another director of that charity is Jacob Adler, a property investor who once owned Leeds United’s Elland Road football ground.
It will take bold thinking to fill the space. A cinema has been mooted by the Council, some have said flats. These are knee jerk reactions.
We have time, a breathing space before the council purchase the building (and increase their minimum revenue provision), and I believe involving the people in a consultation for future potential use of the property owned by the council would be wise and prudent. We need to make Folkestone a town people wish to visit. It cannot and must not all be about the Harbour Arm, Folkestone is bigger than that.
Vote Bryan Rylands
Folkestone Central Ward – May 2nd 2019
I accept postal votes too