Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre, owned by Australian property group Lend Lease, is set to become the UK’s biggest after applying for planning permission for a 375,000 square foot extension the 1.6 million square foot mega-mall.
in 1999, the additional space for the shopping centre which is built in a former quarry would ensure that Bluewater is larger than Westfield’s two shopping centres in London and Gateshead’s Metro Centre.
The plans for the extension were made public by Dartford Council this week and Lend Lease has launched a consultation for the proposed extension, with the aim to submit a full application later this year.
The extension is expected to increase the existing retail and catering space by up to 20 percent and up to 1,500 jobs could be made available to local residents through The Learning Shop, the centre’s on-site training and recruitment facility.
Bluewater’s general manager, Robert Goodman, said: "Whilst significant enhancements have been made to Bluewater’s offer since opening, we are keen to ensure that Bluewater’s guests, in particular the local community, have the very best retail and leisure available.
"It is also important that we continue to work in partnership with the community. We will therefore be consulting with the local community and stakeholders over the next few months. We also remain committed to creating more jobs and training opportunities for local residents."
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson added: "I welcome these proposals and am confident that Lend Lease and Bluewater will work closely with the community to create something that will not only be commercially successful, but which will bring many more benefits to the Dartford and the wider north Kent community.
"Not least of these will be a very significant number of jobs, training and investment in the local economy."
In addition to plans at Bluewater, Lend Lease is also working on a number of schemes in the UK including the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle and the Hydro Arena in Glasgow.