The former Debenhams department store in Oxford will remain empty for now as the building's owners have not put forward any plans.

After the Debenhams chain went into administration the Oxford branch on the corner of George Street and Magdalen Street closed early in 2021 - it did not reopen after the third lockdown.

Following the closure the building's owners - DTZ Investors which acts on behalf of Strathclyde Pension Fund - said it was looking at alternative uses, but so far has not made any further announcement, or put forward official plans.

Read again: Debenhams could become a hotel

It said last year: "The property was acquired some seven or eight years ago as an investment for the Fund.

Oxford Mail:

"Since Debenhams went into administration, we have been exploring possible alternative uses for the upper floors of the property.

"These alternatives could include potential conversion to office or hotel use."

A spokeswoman for Oxford City Council said no official plans had been put forward so far.

She said: "The council doesn’t own the building and has not received any planning application from the owners.

"The City Centre Action Plan, which contains a series of proposals to aid the post-pandemic recovery of Oxford’s city centre, was recently approved by Cabinet.

Read more: Former Oxford bank could become a restaurant

"It is important that the Debenhams building is brought back into active use as soon as possible to support the vitality of the city centre.

Oxford Mail:

"Any changes to the building, or its use, are likely to require planning permission.

"Recent changes to the planning system allow the potential for a wide range of uses to come forward on this site.

"Our hope is that any redevelopment would help to create additional activity and footfall, and be complementary to the wider city centre.

"As the local planning authority, the council will consider any future application for the Debenhams building in the usual manner, including assessing how any scheme would contribute positively to the life of the city centre."

Read more: Nine memorable photos of 1980 in Oxford

The council added it had no news of plans for the former NatWest bank on the corner of Cornmarket opposite the former Debenhams.

Oxford Mail:

It closed when NatWest opened a new branch in the centre of Cornmarket, and early in 2019 property consultants VSL said it could be used as a restaurant.

The closure of Debenhams followed the closure of historic department store Boswells in 2020.

Reef is now turning the former Boswells into a hotel called The Store and the building on the corner of Cornmarket and Broad Street is expeected to be completed by the middle of next year.

It is understood that the former Boswells has now been completely demolished.

Oxford Mail:

DTZ Investors have been asked for further comment regarding the former Debenhams building.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF