Southsea’s Debenhams joins others as the latest high-street giant to fall

Debenhams on Palmerston Road will be closing its doors for the last time in 2020, it has been announced. The retail giant, which has been serving the people of Portsmouth for decades, will join 22 other branches across the country in facing imminent closure.
Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has long been campaigning to bring our high streets back from the brink.
Mr Morgan said:
I am deeply concerned by the Debenhams closure as another high street chain to leave Southsea. 
This is bad news for residents and visitors in one of our vital city shopping areas. 
 
Last year I wrote to the company’s chief executive about the importance of our two Debenhams stores being key anchors in Portsmouth’s high streets providing employment and also generating footfall which assists other independent shops in our area. This is bad news for residents, visitors and our city’s economy.
 
Debenhams joins the ranks of Knight & Lee as the latest nail in the coffin for Portsmouth’s shopping streets”
 
Southsea’s Debenhams joins others as the latest high-street giant to fall
The MP added:
Knight & Lee have cited size and building capacity as the reasons for closure. The obvious solution would for John Lewis and Partners to open a branch within the now closing Debenhams property. This would both work towards saving the vital jobs likely to be lost with the closure of Knight & Lee and retain a much-cherished asset used by the community.
 
I hope that the council and other important stakeholders will join me in championing this solution to two of Southsea’s most prominent high street closures and I hope that John Lewis and Partners back this positive plan for Portsmouth.”
The Portsmouth MP will be following up the idea with John Lewis and Partners who he has been liaising with since their closure was announced earlier this year. He is also putting forward the notion of establishing a task force that would specifically aim to retain and protect jobs in the retail sector.
On these proposals, Mr Morgan has said:
Hampshire alone has lost over 1,600 shops in recent years, and with that, hundreds of local jobs. 
To combat this, I am urging a dedicated task force to be set up to bring businesses, the council, Job Centre Plus and training agencies to protect local jobs and support those affected by high street closures to with guidance and practical help”.
Portsmouth Labour proposed a £2.5m rescue package to rebuild the city’s communities and help bring back our high streets from the brink in February’s council budget meeting.
The positive plan for the city would help rescue the city’s shopping areas with dedicated support and resources, alongside a better integrated transport network. Sadly the Tories and Lib Dems voted down the plans.