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Bluewater expansion could create up to 2,300 jobs

PUBLISHED: 12:10 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:33 21 June 2016

Some 30,000 sq ft of retail space is planned for Bluewater

Some 30,000 sq ft of retail space is planned for Bluewater

Archant

The shopping centre plans to add 300,000 sq ft of new space

Plans to expand Bluewater Shopping Centre and create up to 2,300 jobs for local residents have been unveiled this week.

Providing up to 300,000 sq ft of new space, the plans supersede the proposals approved three years ago to extend Bluewater’s Village.

A new development alongside the Village dining area is planned to provide space for home, garden, sports and leisure retailers.

There are also proposals to create further ‘mini-major’ stores on Bluewater’s existing malls by expanding into currently under-utilised space.

If the plans are approved, the jobs will be made available through the outlet’s Learning Shop, which has played a major role in employment and training in Dartford and the surrounding community.

Robert Goodman, Bluewater’s general manager, described the plans as ‘the exciting next step in Bluewater’s evolution’.

“They are...a response to the predicted significant growth in the local population, and the desire from some of best known brands in the UK and overseas to open statement stores at Bluewater,” he added.

“We believe these proposals will ensure Bluewater continues to thrive for many years to come, providing guests, be they local residents or visitors travelling from much further afield, with an offer, environment and experience that is exemplary.”

Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, said: “I welcome these proposals, which are an important evolution of Bluewater. They address the needs of residents, visitors and the business community, and deal with an ever-growing array of competitors.

“The plans have also been devised with the community in mind, as evidenced by the commitment to deliver 2,300 new jobs via The Learning Shop.”

Consultation is now taking place with a number of stakeholders ahead of the submission of an application later this summer.

If consent is granted, work is expected to begin in 2017.

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