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Bluewater expansion raises fears about local impact

It is a sign of the times - large out of town shopping centres with free parking drawing shoppers away from struggling high streets.

Now that Bluewater in Kent has been granted permission to expand, there are fears about the effect it could have on local town centres in Gravesend and Dartford.

As Sarah Saunders reports.

Sarah spoke to shop owner, Kevin Cheema.


VIDEO: Part of Bluewater evacuated after water pours through ceiling

House of Fraser in Bluewater shopping centre in Kent has been evacuated and closed for the day because of flooding.

Shoppers and staff were ushered out of the store this afternoon because of concerns about water leaking through the roof

Rachael Aliot posted this dramatic footage on her Facebook page.

Water can be seen flooding through light fittings and onto baggage displays:

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Bluewater says sorry for traffic chaos

Bluewater has apologised after hundreds of shoppers got stuck in traffic chaos Credit: ITV News

Bluewater has apologised to hundreds of Christmas shoppers stuck for up to six hours in traffic chaos last night.

Dozens posted photos and angry messages on social media as routes in and out, for cars and buses, remained gridlocked late into the night.

Jams caused by the volume of traffic were made worse by a number of vehicle breakdowns.

Bluewater apologised for the inconvenience, saying it worked with Kent Police to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Kent shoppers hunt for Black Friday bargains

Pictures from Bluewater in Kent show eager bargain hunters taking to the shops to take advantage of the US-inspired Black Friday sales before Christmas.

A family carries away a discounted 48" television from Currys PC World Credit: © Bluewater
A shopper carries away a discounted sound station from Currys PC World Credit: © Bluewater
Topshop employees rally after a pep talk as they prepare to open the store to shoppers at Bluewater Credit: © Bluewater


McDonald's fire at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent

Crews from Kent Fire & Rescue Service were called to the Bluewater shopping centre after a fire at a McDonalds restaurant on the site this afternoon.

The Winter Garden area of the complex was closed to the public for an hour and a half while firefighters dealt with the incident. No-one was injured.

Firefighters were called to the site at 12.55, they dealt with a small fire and left at 1.19pm. The A spokesperson for Bluewater said that the Winter Garden has reopened for business, but the restaurant will remain closed for the rest of the day.

The Winter Garden at Bluewater was closed after a small fire in a restaurant Credit: Fraser Ross

Shopping centre records busiest day of the year

Christmas shopping takes off Credit: PA Wires

Bluewater experienced its busiest day of the year yesterday, with a footfall of almost 160,000, driven by pay day and the holidays beginning. Combined with some retailer’s running flash sales, the shopping centre experienced a busier weekend than Black Friday at the beginning of November.

A further 100,000 people are expected to bag a last minute present on Christmas Eve. The surge in footfall was reflected by consumer spend. Average spend per group this Christmas is expected to exceed £200.

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