Southsea Debenhams closure: traders and residents fear an impending ‘ghost town’

Traders and residents expressed their sadness at the impending closure with some raising concerns the former hotspot would be transformed into a ghost town.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 5:22 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 5:28 pm
From left, Paula Mullord, 77, of Southsea; Martin Knight, owner Southsea Coffee; and Olwyn O'Regan, 80, of Southsea

Olwyn O’Regan, 80, of Southsea, said: ‘I remember in the 1960s when the street was full of people and shops. But now there is hardly anything down here. It is very sad and makes getting to the shops even harder for old people.’

John Harrison, 25, of North End, said: ‘It might have an impact on businesses but we can’t tell until it happens. I used to come down to Southsea with my partner but we won’t do that anymore.’

Paula Mullord, 77, of Southsea, said: ‘There will be nothing here for older women. I’ll have to go to Southampton or London. I was previously told by staff they didn’t think it would close. It is very bad for the area and must be a shock for staff.’

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Debenhams in Palmerston Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (110419-72)

Dean Searl, of butchers Buckwells of Southsea, said: ‘It was always going to happen at some point. But I don’t know how long the area can stand being knocked down before there is nothing here. Hopefully something positive will come of it.’

Martin Knight, owner of Southsea Coffee, added: ‘It’s a sign of the changing times of retail. Hopefully they can do something good.’

Lisa Kingsman, 25, who works at Parkers Pets, said: ‘With Debenhams closing I don’t really know who’s going to come down here any more. Everything here is being replaced with a coffee shop or a restaurant – it’s not being replaced with another shop alternative.’