Former Lowestoft department store remains empty as discount retailer B&M denies rumours it is moving in

The Lowestoft BHS branch on its last day of trading. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Lowestoft BHS branch on its last day of trading. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The prominent site of Lowestoft's former Bhs department store remains empty a year after its closure.

The former BHS site on St Stephen's Street.

The former BHS site on St Stephen's Street. - Credit: Archant

When Bhs closed last summer, it saw 11,000 jobs lost, 22,000 pensions affected and a parliamentary inquiry into its former owners launched.

Stores in Norwich and Great Yarmouth were also among the stores which shut their doors in August 2016, and communities hoped the buildings – all in well-known high street spots – would soon be given new leases of life.

However despite the online listing from KLM Retail describing it as 'arguably the most prime pitch in the town', there has been no changes to the empty Lowestoft store.

Rumours have been circulating that discount retailer B&M could be moving into the London Road North building, however a spokesman from the company has this week denied the news.

BHS in Regent Street, Great Yarmouth. Picture: George Ryan

BHS in Regent Street, Great Yarmouth. Picture: George Ryan - Credit: George Ryan


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She said: 'Unfortunately there are no plans for us to move into this property at the moment.

'We're always looking at sites for new stores and would welcome the opportunity to invest in the region.

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'As a growing business with more than 500 stores nationwide we are always looking to expand further; providing great value products and world class service to even more customers every week as well as playing an integral part in the local community.'

The 45,000 square foot Norwich premises, which are owned by Aviva, are still boarded up on central St Stephen's Street.

In March, it was revealed that discussions were ongoing with a new tenant for the site, at the time described as one of the largest retail spots in the centre, and the store remains under offer today.

A planning application has also been lodged with Norwich City Council by Aviva Investors to see the back of the site revamped.

Adrian Fennell, a partner at Norwich-based Roche Chartered Surveyors, said the size of the stores and the investment required to bring facilities up to scratch made securing new tenants difficult, particularly in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Great Yarmouth's store on Regent Road also remains empty with no interest being shown.

• What would you like to see take its place in Lowestoft? Email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk.

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