Former staff at the now-closed Romford Debenhams store have joined others who used to work for the department chain in a legal challenge over its redundancy process.

Law firm Simpson Millar said ex-workers at the Market Place shop have instructed them to pursue Debenhams for compensation.

It is representing around 700 former Debenhams staff across the country in a bid to secure Protective Awards on their behalf, after allegations the business did not properly consult staff when making mass redundancies.

The Romford store was among the final 28 Debenhams shops to close on Saturday, May 15.

The chain went into administration last April, but Debenhams will remain online after the brand and website were bought by Boohoo in January.

Damian Kelly, head of employment law at Simpson Millar, claimed that while "some companies are struggling because of the pandemic, they still have a duty under current employment law legislation to carry out a proper consultation with staff at risk of redundancies".

He explained that if an employment tribunal found in favour of the former staff, they will be able to access payment through the government's insolvency service.

A spokesperson for Debenhams' joint administrators said: “In normal circumstances, an employer proposing to make redundancies would embark on a period of consultation with its employees.

"But this is rarely possible in insolvency where the options available are limited, particularly in an unpredictable and challenging trading environment.

"Administrators must also consider their own duty to creditors and wider statutory obligations.”

The Recorder reported last week on what the future could be for the now vacant Romford Debenhams store.

A Havering Council spokesperson said it is "unlikely" the unit will have a single new occupier, adding that it is more probable it will be used in "a number of different ways".

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell described the store's closure as "a very sad moment" for the town.

Readers have also been having their say on what they would like to see replace the department store, which was taken over by Debenhams in 1960.

Many said the store should remain as a retail outlet, rather than being used for housing.