Essex: Lakeside Extension To Go Ahead

The "intu" retail giant has been given outline planning consent to create a multi-million leisure development at Lakeside.

The firm has told Heart it'll create a series of outdoor spaces, the focal point of which will be a large town square around which a wide range of new leisure and restaurant uses will be provided over two levels. Potential uses could include ten-pin bowling, family restaurants, a health and fitness centre, a night club, a comedy venue and a hotel.

The public spaces will host an exciting events programme which may include farmers’ and Christmas markets, street theatre, music shows and live screenings of big sporting events throughout the year. The spaces can also be used to host some of intu’s events which have a strong point of difference to those you may find at other shopping centres, such as Everyone’s Invited which works with the local community to showcase talents within the arts.

At the heart of the development, public spaces will link the existing shopping centre with Alexandra Lake. These will include a covered street, a family square, a town square and a waterfront area including a boardwalk and park adjacent to the lake.

Kate Miller, General Manager (Operations) at intu Lakeside, says: "After such overwhelming public support for our plans, we’re delighted to have received planning consent to invest in the centre’s leisure facilities which will attract more people, from a wider area, and give them a reason to stay at the centre for longer.”

During public consultation, 82% of respondents said that they would spend more time at the centre if additional leisure activities were available.

The development will provide a boost to the local economy during both construction and operational stages, with up to 1,400 permanent new jobs being created across the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors. There will be approximately 660 jobs created on site during the two year construction phase.

Construction could start as early as 2015, which would mean that the leisure development could open in 2017.

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