Music venue with rooftop football pitch could take over former Debenhams store in Bolton

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The owners say there is no chance it will become a shop again as they have no interest from retailers.

Radical plans to transform the former Debenhams department store in Bolton town centre include building rooftop football pitches. The former anchor store of the Market Place shopping centre has been vacant since the retail giant closed the outlet in May 2021.

Owners Moorgarth Retail say there is now ‘no prospect of finding a new tenant to take over the whole unit’. They have now published ambitious plans to change the use of the building which include open air football courts at the rooftop car parking level, a music venue and a training and education centre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Moorgarth Retail have been owners of Market Place since 2014 and have since been responsible for a programme of improvements including the development of the cinema and the opening-up of the Vaults area. The former department store has a central atrium allowing daylight into the unit and containing five banks of escalators connecting it to the car parking above. The total area of the former store is circa 11,000 sqm

A design and access published by Bolton Council this week sets out the plans in more detail.

An artist’s impression of the Debenhams transformation in Bolton - proposed New Courtyard atfirst Floor Level Credit: Moorsgarth Retail via ldrsAn artist’s impression of the Debenhams transformation in Bolton - proposed New Courtyard atfirst Floor Level Credit: Moorsgarth Retail via ldrs
An artist’s impression of the Debenhams transformation in Bolton - proposed New Courtyard atfirst Floor Level Credit: Moorsgarth Retail via ldrs | ldrs

It said: “At basement level around 950 sqm are to be changed into an events and music venue. At first floor conversions will be made to form an education and training facility. At car park roof level we will replace 151 car parking spaces to form open air football pitches and padel courts.

“The ground floor is to be converted into a self-contained unit suitable and attractive for a large space user with a basement stockroom connected directly to the loading bay.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Principal access to the new music and events venue will be through existing doors opening on to Bridge Street. This entrance will be enhanced with a glazed canopy to provide both shelter and significance to the new entrance.”

The plans add that the first floor is to be divided into several units, one of which will accommodate a music school and the remainder to be split into smaller, more flexible units.

Football courts would be built at car park levels Credit: MoorsgarthFootball courts would be built at car park levels Credit: Moorsgarth
Football courts would be built at car park levels Credit: Moorsgarth | ldrs sent no credit

In July, it was announced the Debenhams plans were one three new development projects included in a £20m Levelling Up investment bid.

It has not been revealed if the bid has been successful. The bid would also create a modern hotel and conference complex on the southern side of Le Mans Crescent and open up a historic heritage quarter.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.