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The first images have been released of how the Eastbourne Arndale Centre could look following a £65m makeover.
The extension, proposed by the Performance Retail Limited Partnership (PRLP), will, if approved, create between 15 and 20 new shops in a completely redesigned western wing to the Centre and create 500 jobs.
The extension has been welcomed by council leaders as an exciting and vital boost to the town’s economy which will attract thousands more people to Eastbourne.
The plans will also boost Eastbourne’s wider retail sector, allowing many existing shops to expand into larger, more modern units. This will ensure the town centre remains a thriving and vibrant shopping area that offers the range of retailers local people want.
Before a planning application can be prepared, agreement needs to be completed on proposed measures to improve the quality of the environment around the bus interchange on Terminus Road. PRLP and the Council are working closely to make sure any changes to the current interchange arrangements are integrated into the plans.
Simon Russian, Senior Fund Manager at Legal & General Property (one of the investors in PRLP), said:
“The Arndale Centre has the potential to be an attractive gateway to the town from the station. There is a strong demand for new retail space in Eastbourne and the expansion of the Arndale will act as a catalyst to attract more regeneration and investment in the town centre.
“The Council has been very helpful in assisting us develop proposals that will maximise the benefits for the whole town. We look forward to working with them alongside local businesses, stakeholders and shoppers to design a scheme that meets the aspirations of the people of Eastbourne.”
A public consultation on the proposals is expected in the Autumn prior to the submission of a planning application in early 2012. Subject to planning permission, the new extension could be open by 2015.
In a joint statement, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council Cllr David Tutt, and Eastbourne Borough Council Conservative Group Leader Cllr David Elkin, said:
“Extending and improving the town’s main shopping centre is crucial in terms of strengthening Eastbourne as a retail destination and ensuring our economic development is sustainable.
“By creating larger and more flexible retail units we will be able to attract more big name High Street brands, and with them far greater numbers of shoppers, which in turn will help sustain the wider retail sector throughout the town and create new jobs.
“The council supports the plans and looks forward to PRLP submitting a full planning application in 2012.”