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Ashford Designer Outlet expansion plans amended

A new planning application has been submitted to expand the Ashford Designer Outlet. The latest proposals suggest a few alterations to the scheme, which mostly centre on relocating a number of areas.

The changes include moving the McDonalds and play area site, the toilets and the management suite but the principle and scale of the proposals are largely unchanged.

A spokesman for surveyors Montagu Evans said: "The amendments proposed as part of this application relate to minor changes in the proposed site layout and the built form of the extension buildings.

"The changes are sought to enable McArthurGlen to deliver a more coherent scheme and bring about better efficiency in the construction of the extension.

"A number of the changes sought address detailed design matters that have been raised through further and ongoing discussions with statutory consultees.

"These include minor amendments to the highway levels, parking layout and also in relation to ecology impacts."

The centre has become tremendously popular with shoppers, attracting 3.2 million visitors each year since it opened in March 2000. It is one of the largest tented structures in the world.

Plans to almost double its size were first revealed in 2013 and a full planning application was approved in September 2015.

The multi-million pound proposal includes demolishing part of the existing mall, where the coach drop-off point and food court are, to make room for extra retail units, more restaurants and a visitor centre.

Work has not yet begun, but it will be delivered in two stages, with the initial phase adding 30 shops to the 80 already there.

In total, an extra 175,000 sqft of retail space would be added to the existing 185,000 sqft thus creating 2,000 jobs.

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