Civic society cautiously welcomes plan to redevelop former Debenhams building
Last updated Aug 27, 2021
A CGI image of the proposed development

Harrogate Civic Society has welcomed plans to demolish the former Debenhams building on Parliament Street so it can be replaced with a new six-storey structure, but said the proposals need to improved.

Last week, Wetherby-based property firm Stirling Prescient unveiled plans for a building on the site with retail, leisure and food and drink units on the ground floor and 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. There would also be a basement floor for car parking and bicycle storage.

The developer said the current building, which is empty after Debenhams moved out in January, is not suitable for conversion to smaller units due to its layout and age and risks becoming an “eyesore” unless it’s redeveloped.

Stuart Holland, chair of the Harrogate Civic Society, a group that comments on significant planning applications in the town, told the Stray Ferret that members recently met with the developer for a presentation on their plans.

He said due to the historical significance of the building, demolition will only be acceptable to the civic society if what replaces it is “of the highest quality”.

He added that the society welcomes the mix of retail and housing but said six storeys is “too high” so it is encouraging the developer to reduce it by one storey so it does not tower over the area.

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The society says the proposed roof level is “too dominant” and a substantially glazed structure would be preferred – similar to the proposed rooftop restaurant of the Crescent Gardens building.

It is also recommending that the building’s stained glass windows should be salvaged and re-purposed.

Mr Holland added:

“We understand that a full planning application will be made in the coming weeks and we hope the developer will take on board the Civic Society comments that aim to be constructive.”

Stirling Prescient has invited comments from the public about their plans at the following email address: [email protected]