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Plans to expand Lakeside approved by Thurrock Council

An initial design for the planned new bus station (credit: Intu)

Thurrock Council has approved plans to expand Lakeside Shopping Centre. 

The scheme would see the bus station and part of the nearby Debenhams store demolished and replaced with a new three-storey building. 

The property, in the northern section of the shopping centre, would be filled by a department store and various other shops. A multi-storey car park would also be built over two existing car parks to the north east of the area.

Concept art of the planned department store and surrounding internal area (credit: Intu)

To the east of the centre, near the main entrance and street level car parks, there are plans for a smaller expansion which would create space for more shops and cafes. 

This would be near a potential new public square intended to be built in the north eastern part of Lakeside. 

An image of the planned expansion outside the main entrance of the shopping centre (credit: Intu)

There are also designs for a new, larger bus station which will be developed near the pedestrian bridge which connects Lakeside to Chafford Hundred railway station.

It is expected to be operational before the original bus station is demolished and would come with 13 bus stands. 

More pedestrian and cycle paths are also expected to be developed across the north and eastern sides of the shopping centre as well. 

The proposals are part of a £168 million scheme which has been slightly altered after it was first proposed in 2016. It aims to expand the northern and eastern sides of the shopping centre and was approved at a Planning Committee meeting on Thursday, 25 June. 

It is estimated the scheme could create roughly 2,900 permanent jobs once finished and provide between 30 and 40 new stores and restaurants. Around 1,500 temporary construction jobs would also be made during development. 

However, work on the project cannot begin until a detailed plan outlining each stage of the development is submitted to Thurrock Council and then approved.

The Planning Committee has also asked the developer to provide more details about the appearance, layout and scale of the development. 

Planning permission has been granted for a large expansion at Lakeside (credit: Intu)

The planning application was granted one day before Lakeside’s owner, Intu, went into administration after failing to reach a “standstill agreement” with lenders. 

However, the centre will remain open under administrators KPMG. 

“Thurrock Council is in regular contact with Intu and understands that Lakeside remains busy,” said Leader of Thurrock Council, Councillor Rob Gledhill. 

“We hope the approval of planning permission for the expansion of the shopping centre will boost the prospects of this site to ensure it stays open for many years to come.” 

 

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