Today, 7 June 2018, House of Fraser has announced proposals to close 31 stores, including the Park Street store in Camberley.
The stores scheduled for closure, which also include its flagship London Oxford Street store, will stay open until early 2019. The retailer needs the final approval of 75% of its creditors to go ahead with the closures. Creditors will vote on the insolvency plan, which involves company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) on 22 June.
In a joint statement Karen Whelan, Chief Executive and Councillor Moira Gibson, Leader of Surrey Heath Borough Council, said;
“House of Fraser has been in Camberley for many years and since September last year we have been working closely with the House of Fraser Board on new concept designs for their Camberley store, to meet the aspirations of our residents. Whilst the store in Camberley has traded well for a number of years, it is caught by the national challenges faced by the Group which are not necessarily specific to Camberley.
By acquiring the freehold of this site, Surrey Heath did so as part of the wider regeneration of its town and not as an investment. The store has suffered from under investment over the years and the Council was in discussions with them to address this. Whilst these discussions are still ongoing, their own reinvestment proposals are dependent on a formal CVA and their position on legacy stores.
Whilst being disappointed by the news, because Surrey Heath is in control of the freehold of this site, like other sites we have bought, it enables us to continue our regeneration proposals by being able to move forward more flexibly and agilely with solutions.
Our concern is for the staff, many of whom are local, loyal and dedicated people who have also invested in the town centre. Whilst the proposed CVA is the start of a formal consultation process, many further discussions can still be had.
Surrey Heath Borough Council continues to move forward with our development proposals to create a new town centre, not just relying on retail but on the wider experience we can provide for our local community. We would like to see House of Fraser remain part of our future and we are firmly committed to doing what we can to assist that.”
To date SHBC has invested £140 million into Camberley; which includes the acquisition and subsequent refurbishment of The Square shopping centre, and Ashwood House which is currently being transformed into 116 high quality residential apartments. Substantial projects to improve the town centre car parks, Princess Walk and the High Street are in the pipeline which will soon to be followed by the regeneration of the area along London Road (A30) between the High Street and Park Street and opposite the historic Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.