LEADING department store Debenhams looks set to become the jewel in the crown of the £300m regeneration of Northwich town centre.
The Chronicle understands the 80,000sq ft department store, the centrepiece of the Barons Quay redevelopment, will be taken up by the high street chain.
The move would create scores of jobs and provide a boost to the local economy.
Although nothing has been finalised, developers Wilson Bowden are confident Debenhams, which employs more than 22,000 people worldwide and last year turned over £2.3bn, will sign up.
A Vale Royal Council spokesman said this week: "Debenhams remains committed to opening a department store in Northwich as part of the Barons Quay development and reaffirmed this commitment as recently as nine weeks ago.
"Site investigations are programmed to start later this year and the council and Wilson Bowden are confident the Northwich Vision programme is on course to deliver a change in the town centre’s fortunes."
Leicestershire-based Wilson Bowden penned a contract to overhaul the 600,000sq ft Barons Quay area earlier this year. A provisional planning application is expected in March or April next year.
The multi-million pound project will also offer a 90,000sq ft food store, a multi-screen cinema and 40 new shops and restaurant space.
A Debenhams spokesperson said: "We have no comment with regard to Northwich town centre. Debenhams are however always looking for new site opportunities to expand our portfolio of stores."