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Footage shows the £90 million Ashford Designer Outlet expansion

By Georgia Woolf

Behind-the-scenes footage of a £90m expansion at the Ashford Designer Outlet has been released a year ahead of its opening.

The McArthurGlen extension is scheduled to open next autumn, with the 100,000 sq ft expansion adding a further 50 units to the centre, a new children's playground and food piazza.

Europe's largest living wall will also be included in the new development.

VIDEO: Time-lapse footage of the construction

The footage of construction work, which is not visible to the public, shows the progress of the £90 million development for the first time.

It shows how construction has progressed throughout the year, as the new extension has gone up inside.

The tented structure at the rear of the centre can also be seen being permanently removed to make way for the new units. This is the first time the canopy has been removed since the centre was built 18 years ago.

Work is progressing at the Designer Outlet Picture: Vantage Photography / info@vantage-photography.co.uk (4931674)
Work is progressing at the Designer Outlet Picture: Vantage Photography / info@vantage-photography.co.uk (4931674)

A new 735 space car park, next to the Asda supermarket opened to the public for the first time earlier this year.

The 'Garden of England' themed play area is next to open as part of the redevelopment in Spring 2019.

The new playground will have space for more than 200 children to play at one time and will feature a seven-metre high Robinia tree house - one of the tallest of its kind.

How the playground will look. Picture: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (5155493)
How the playground will look. Picture: McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (5155493)

It comes after the former playground, previously located next to the food court, was dismantled and donated to Wingham Wildlife Park in April.

Last month, the Newtown roadworks were lifted following a 32-week road closure.

Contractors shut Newtown Road at the junction with Romney Marsh Road in April to remove two roundabouts and fit traffic lights instead.

VIDEO: Watch CGI footage of the new centre

The road is set to close for a further eight weeks next year for traffic calming measures.

With the 12 month countdown on, the centre will be delivering the final features of the expansion next year.

The centre remains open to customers throughout the construction period and guests are still able to a range of food and beverage brands including Wagamama and Lost Sheep Coffee.

A temporary play area opposite Pizza Express has also been set up to keep younger visitors entertained until the new playground arrives.

Centre manager, Peter Corr said: "We’re thrilled that there’s now less than a year to go until we open the doors to our £90 million expansion and offer our customers an even greater selection of the world’s most sought-after brands.

"Our behind-the-scenes footage reveals just how busy our construction partners have been as we work around the clock to deliver a flagship retail destination that not only generates an additional 500 jobs for the community, but improves Ashford’s infrastructure for years to come.

How the new extension will look
How the new extension will look

"While construction progresses, we’re open as usual and continue to provide a full programme of exciting events and promotions to ensure guests enjoy an exceptional day out when they visit us.”

The centre remains Europe's largest tented retail structure since it was first developed in 2000.

Commenting on the design of the new extension, Lucy Flintoff, associate director at Chapman Taylor - the architect company behind the expansion said: “We’re very proud to have been involved in the 100,000 sq ft extension of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford.

"Richard Rogers, the architect behind the centre’s original tented structure, highlighted that the design of the tent allowed for future flexibility, with the retail outlets capable of being easily relocated and reconfigured, as required.

The new extension (6065179)
The new extension (6065179)

"The success and popularity of the centre means that its design needed to evolve and, consequently, Chapman Taylor’s architectural design has respectfully removed a small element of the tent to allow the new phase to join seamlessly with the existing centre.”

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