£4.3m plan for shops and café on former BHS site

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A planning application has been submitted to transform the former department store at 8-18 King Street, which is
currently occupied by clothing retailer USC. Architectural drawings submitted as part of the plans show signs on the retail units for Sports Direct and high-end retailer Flannels.

Under the proposals, extra retail space would be created on the third floor of the premises, which was remodelled in the 1960s, and a ground floor café would also be added.

The capital costs for the project are expected to be £4.3 million and £30,000 has also been allocated under the Percentage for Art scheme to create a wall-mounted art panel.

Vesna Carnegie, from architects Axis Mason, said: ‘The existing footprint of the building is being maintained and the side elevation, in Don Street, will be opened up with big open windows so people will be able to see inside.’

The design statement submitted with the application states: ‘The building itself sits comfortably within the townscape in terms of mass. However, the overall appearance gives a horizontal impression and is at odds with the predominately vertical plot nature of the town.

‘The materials are dated and require updating.’

It is proposed to retain the footprint of the structure but to ‘upgrade’ the building’s street-facing façade with ‘high-quality pre-cast stone’.

It has also been proposed to create additional retail space in the building, which would increase the existing floorspace from 2,973 sq metres to 4,274 sq metres.

‘Additional floor will accommodate more retail area, future-proof the building and ensure long-term use through versatile footprint,’ the design statement says.

BHS, which purchased the site in 1966, shut its King Street doors in August 2016 after administrators failed to find a buyer for the struggling department store. Sixty Islanders lost their jobs with the company, which was reported to have debts of more than £1.3 billion nationally.

A few weeks later Flannels, Sports Direct’s high-end clothing franchise, revealed it had bought the shop for £18 million and intended to create 50 new jobs.

However, in December of the same year it emerged that USC, which is also owned by Sports Direct, was taking over the space temporarily during the festive period. USC has been based in the former department store since then.

Sports Direct currently has an out-of-town shop at Jersey Electricity’s Power House in Queen’s Road, which created 55 new jobs when it opened .

The JEP contacted Sports Direct to ask whether the Queen’s Road store would remain open if plans for the King Street shop were given approval but had received no comment at the time of going to print.

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