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Brent Cross unveils major expansion plans

Brent Cross unveils major expansion plans

Brent Cross shopping centre in north London has published plans for a £1.4 billion expansion that would double its size and help it to compete with the Westfield shopping centres in Shepherd's Bush and Stratford.

Owners Hammerson and investment partners Standard Life want to provide space for an extra 200 retail brands, 40 new restaurants, a cinema complex and a hotel. Around 5,000 construction jobs would also be created.

It would also stay open later, with key brand names like John Lewis and Fenwick remaining on site and a new Marks and Spencer being constructed.

The blueprint has been revealed at the start of a public consultation exercise, with this being launched ahead of the submission of a planning application in spring next year. If all goes well with the process, enabling work will start in 2017, so that construction can get underway in 2018 and be completed in 2021 or 2022.

Brent Council may be very keen on the development, as it is being planned as part of a wider £4.5 billion urban regeneration project for the Cricklewood area, which will also see the construction of new community facilities, offices, 6,000 homes and parks. There would also be a new pedestrianised 'green boulevard' designed to enable shoppers to access the redeveloped district centre from Brent Cross on foot.

Commenting on the expansion scheme, Hammerson's development director Mike McGuinness said the idea was to restore the pre-eminence that it enjoyed as Britain's first giant shopping centre 40 years ago.

"We take the view that Brent Cross was the number one centre in 1976 and we feel we would like to make it number one again in a new era," he remarked.

Brent Cross has been followed by a number of other large shopping mall developments across Britain, such as Bluewater in Kent, Meadowhall in Sheffield and Manchester's Trafford Centre. However, these are located in more out-of-town or edge-of-town locations compared with Brent Cross or the two Westfield centres. 

Image: iStock


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