The leisure proposals mark the continuing evolution of the centre, building upon existing plans for a £180m expansion of the centre’s retail offer that would bring 30-40 new stores and a substantial investment in local community infrastructure.
The exciting new leisure development will 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. 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.
At the heart of the development, new public spaces will link the existing shopping centre with Alexandra Lake. These spaces will include a covered street, a family square, a town square and a waterfront area including a new boardwalk and park adjacent to the lake.
An extended cinema, new leisure and restaurant uses together with a hotel will be built around these dramatic new public spaces. Discussions are progressing with potential tenants with a view to securing such uses as ten-pin bowling, family restaurants, a health and fitness centre, a night club, a comedy venue and a hotel.
The application follows an engaging and interactive public consultation at intu Lakeside, during which 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 is expected to start during 2015, with the leisure development scheduled to open in 2017.
Jonathan Ainsley, asset management director for intu, said: “After such overwhelming public support for our plans, we’re delighted to have now submitted the planning application to invest £100million in the centre’s leisure facilities. We’re passionate about providing people with the perfect shopping experience, and the new leisure development will attract more people, from a wider area, and provide a great reason for them to stay with us for even longer.”