1. ITV Report

1,500 new jobs at shopping centre

New jobs could be created at Kent's major shopping centre.

Lend Lease today announced that it has begun the consultation process for an outline planning application for a modest extension of up to 20% of the existing retail and catering space at Bluewater.

It is anticipated that the proposals could deliver up to 1,500 new jobs, which would be made available to local residents via The Learning Shop, Bluewater’s unique on-site training and recruitment facility. Since opening 13 years ago, The Learning Shop has created employment for over 30,000 people, the majority from the local community.

The extension will be seamlessly integrated with the Guildhall, and build upon Bluewater’s aspirational tenant mix, reinforcing its position as Europe’s leading retail, leisure and events destination.

Commenting on the application, Robert Goodman, Bluewater’s General Manager, said: “A key element of Bluewater’s success has been its ability to evolve. Whilst significant enhancements have been made to Bluewater’s offer since opening, we are keen to ensure that Bluewater’s guests, in particular the local community, have the very best retail and leisure available.

“It is also important that we continue to work in partnership with the community. We will therefore be consulting with the local community and stakeholders over the next few months. We also remained committed to creating more jobs and training opportunities for local residents.”

Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, added: “I welcome these proposals and am confident that Lend Lease and Bluewater will work closely with the community to create something that will not only be commercially successful, but which will bring many more benefits to the Dartford and the wider north Kent community. Not least of these will be a very significant number of jobs, training and investment in the local economy.”

Consultation for the proposed extension has begun, and the application will be submitted later this year.