DEBENHAMS has been handed a discount on the rent at its Colchester store in a bid to keep it in the town.

The High Street giant went into administration in April and is expected to close 50 stores over the next five years.

Earlier this year, Colchester’s branch of Debenhams, in Culver Street West, escaped inclusion on a list of 22 stores which the business intends to shut in 2020.

The lenders who took over the chain asked as many as 30 local authorities to throw a lifeline to stores by cutting their rates bills in half.

Documents into Colchester Council’s finances showed it was expecting a £31,000 shortfall due to rent reductions offered to the shop.

The majority of Company Voluntary Arrangements to reduce rents with landlords were understood to have been voted through.

It is thought as many as 105 stores will have seen their rents cut.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “The shortfall is due to Debenhams applying for, and being successful in, a national CVA for a rent reduction with its landlords.

“The reduction reflects the reduction in ground rent which Colchester Council will subsequently get from its head tenant, The Prudential.”

Last year, Colchester Council bosses wrote to Debenhams bosses urging them not to close the popular department store.

Colchester’s Debenhams has been a fixture in the town centre since 1989 when it was opened by singer and actor Jason Donovan following a retail renovation in Culver Square.

Sam Good, Our Colchester’s Business Improvement District (BID) manager, said it would work with Debenhams to keep them in town.

He said: “The BID sees Debenhams as a key player in the make up of Colchester town centre and we have every belief that we will continue to see them trading in the town centre for many years to come.

“The faces of town centres are fast changing and sometimes unpredictable however it is our position to work with Debenhams alongside the other fantastic businesses within the BID on ways we can support the increase of footfall and sales.

“The BID has every confidence that the town centres unique offerings can attract new consumers to the town alongside increasing repeat custom from residents of the borough.”

Last year, Adrian Pritchard, chief executive of Colchester Council, wrote to his Debenhams counterpart, Sergio Bucher, urging the company to put its faith in the town’s Culver Square store.

He extended an invitation for a meeting with himself and the council leader and described the store as playing a “vital role” in the town economy.

Last week, it was revealed Debenhams had secured an extra £50 million of funding to help win over customers in the run up to Christmas and keep the business going.