Exeter was today celebrating the news that John Lewis is to open a new department store in the city. It had been the retail giant’s intention just to open a John Lewis at Home shop on the site of the old Debenhams store on the corner of Paris Street and Sidwell Street but now it has gone one better.
The news was greeted with delight from Exeter City Council.
Council Leader Pete Edwards, said: “This is fantastic news for Exeter. I am proud to say, this will help take Exeter into the future, we couldn’t wish for better news.
“The city council has had a long standing aspiration to bring John Lewis to the city, and while the planned opening of John Lewis at Home would have been a significant investment, the announcement that John Lewis will now open a full line department store is simply superb, and absolutely the best news we could have received for the city centre.
Councillor Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for Sustainable development and transport said: “This is an exciting development for the city we must now turn our attention to providing a first class experience for everyone who will be visiting the regional capital and as a start we will work closely with John Lewis and Devon County council to address the treatment of the frontage to New North Road, Paris Street and Sidwell Street.”
Councillor Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy and Tourism, said: “It is pleasing to see that John Lewis will use the whole of the former Debenhams’s building. It has been an area of concern that much of the building would have remained vacant, but the announcement will ensure Exeter has a much improved building with fantastic views across the city.
“The city council will now turn its attentions to working with Land Securities and the Crown Estate to bring forward the redevelopment of the bus and coach station site. Officers have been working with Land Securities to understand how the John Lewis announcement would influence the form and content of any redevelopment scheme. It is an exciting time for the City and we are extremely fortunate to have retailers of the calibre of John Lewis wishing to invest in the city when other centres are in serious trouble.”
John Harvey, city centre manager said: “The arrival of a John Lewis department store in Exeter is a fantastic endorsement of the quality of the city centre. It will firmly establish Exeter as the premier shopping centre in the region. I can say with confidence it will bring shoppers to the city from the whole of the south west.”
The location of the new store in this prominent landmark building will reinforce the High Street and provide a timely and welcome boost to the traders in Sidwell Street.