Bluewater shopping centre to become UK's second largest

A regional retail centre in Dartford is set for expansion and could bring 2,300 new jobs to the area.

Bluewater could increase its size by up to 30,000sq m to become the largest in the UK after intu Metrocentre in Gateshead.

The scheme aims to be completed in 2020 or 2021, and would create 500 positions during the construction stage. 

The shopping centre, on a 97-ha site in Greenhithe close to Ebbsfleet’s Eastern Quarry, includes more than 300 shops and restaurants, along with 13,000 parking spaces.

Dartford Council approved on 20 April an outline application to extend and change the look of the section of Bluewater known as West Village, as well as expanding five other areas in and around the centre. This will be done by demolishing and refurbishing surrounding buildings and developing new ones in the area.

Detailed permission will now have to be secured. Work could start next year.

Designed by architect Eric Kuhne of Civic Arts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates, the shopping centre opened in March 1999. It has since recorded more than 400 million visits and launched more than 50 brands in the UK.