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Thousands of jobs to be created as Bluewater expands

Bluewater shopping centre in Greenhithe
Bluewater shopping centre in Greenhithe

Over 2,000 jobs are to be created, as a 20% expansion to Bluewater gets the go-ahead.

The West Village area is set to be demolished and rebuilt with up to 40,000 square metres of extra retail and catering space.

Currently, 45% of the jobs at Bluewater are held by people in Dartford or Gravesham, and 93% belong to people across the rest of Kent.

Now 2,300 more are expected to be created and Dartford council Leader Jeremy Kite (Con) is positive many more people in North West Kent will benefit from them.

Bluewater shopping centre
Bluewater shopping centre

He said: “I think this development is what people want. It’s been proven that Bluewater doesn’t have much of an affect on the town centre, and it’s going to create a lot of jobs for people in this area.

“It’s great for us and I think we can look at Bluewater’s expansion as a force for good, rather than a force for bad.”

Large retail units to attract big businesses are planned, but which specific retailers will be joining the centre has not been determined yet.

The development, which also includes a basement, will eat into 813 current car parking spaces, but these are set to be moved elsewhere so no parking is lost.

Bluewater shopping centre. Picture: Nick Thornton
Bluewater shopping centre. Picture: Nick Thornton

The coach park will also be moved to accommodate the extension, as will the existing lake.
Access to and from the site will stay the same.

The West Village retail and catering area is the only catering space which hasn’t been refurbished since Bluewater opened in 1999.

The outline application was approved at Dartford council’s Development Control Board on Thursday May 16.

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