Marijke Cox Thursday, November 14, 2013 3:58 PM - Kentnews.co.uk
One of the county’s major shopping outlets looks set to almost double in size, it has been confirmed.
Bosses at Ashford’s McArthur Glen Designer Outlet revealed ambitious plans to increase the shopping village from its current 183,000 square foot to around 333,000 sqft.
A planning application is expected to be submitted early next year with construction beginning in 2014 and the opening set for the end of 2016.
Managing director, development, at McArthur Glen Gary Bond said Ashford was a key location due to its easy access to London by train, its proximity to the M20 linking it to the City, and its link to the Continent through Ashford International and its location to the Port of Dover.
“With the planned expansion we are looking to create the next generation of designer outlet, reflecting the quality of our flagship McArthur Glen Designer Outlets in Continental Europe, and taking the customer experience to a new level, bringing in exciting new brands, as well as café and restaurant concepts,” he said.
The expansion plan will be seen as a boost to an area currently in the throes of major regeneration and it is hoped the growth of the centre will pave the way for hundreds of employment opportunities in the district.
Mr Bond said: “We have received tremendous support from the local authority of Ashford, which fully understands how the expansion of the centre will not only create jobs, but also further establish Ashford Designer Outlet as a shopping destination, which in turn benefits the local economy, especially the tourism sector.
“We have been looking at expanding a number of our designer outlets in the UK, in particular where we have strong support from local councils who understand the benefits of creating a shopping destination that acts as a tourism magnet for the local region.”
The plans are likely to attract more designer brands to the outlet, which this year saw fashion label Abercrombie and Fitch, Twenty8Twelve, Geox, Asics and French Connection open stores at the Ashford site. Trendy Japanese restaurant Wagamamma has also opened its doors.
Mr Bond added: “We will continue with the village-style theme of the centre, while at the same time bringing a new freshness to the whole centre, making it a very individual shopping experience together with the most sought-after brands on offer and the year-round savings of 60 per cent.”