THESE pictures show how Lakeside shopping centre could look after a £168million overhaul which would see Debenhams demolished and replaced with a new multi-storey car park. 

The major extension plans are aimed at turning the popular shopping centre into a “regional town centre” and are set to be granted planning approval.

Under the plans part of the Debenhams store at Intu Lakeside will be demolished and a new multi-storey car park will be built, along with a ‘town square’.

Intu has said in planning documents that almost 3,000 new jobs would be created and it is prepared to invest up to £168million into the improvements.

Echo: Layout - the shopping centre is set for a significant expansionLayout - the shopping centre is set for a significant expansion

To the north of the centre will be a new street-style shopping area, while the existing bus station will be knocked down and replaced with a three-storey department store.

The existing Debenhams store will then be converted to accommodate several new shops.

Echo: Overhaul - how the overhauled centre could lookOverhaul - how the overhauled centre could look

Planning documents state that a total of between 30 to 40 new stores will be added to the shopping centre and this, combined with changes to the layout, means a multi-storey carpark will need to be built to the north of the new department store.

Close to the car park will also be the new town square. This public space will be a small area free of cars that can be used for art installations and seating areas.

To make up for the loss of the bus station, a new and modern replacement will be built at the opposite side of the shopping centre, close to the footbridge that connects to Chafford Hundred Station.

Echo: Bustling - an impression of how the centre could lookBustling - an impression of how the centre could look

A new pedestrian and cycle path is also planned to the north of the shopping centre, as well as a dedicated dual use footway and cycleway close to the bus station.

In a report published ahead of this week’s Thurrock Council planning committee, council officers recommended the plans are granted planning permission.

The report explained up to 1,553 temporary construction jobs will be created and once work is finished, there will be up to 2,930 new jobs.

It said: “The development would bring forward a high quality, modern and sustainable extension to the Intu Shopping centre, raising the profile and environment of the Lakeside Basin with facilities to which would benefit of all users.

“The proposed new bus station and associated new footway and cycle links would provide much needed and improved opportunities for sustainable transport usage in the area as an alternative to the high level of private vehicle usage associated with this site.”

The plans will be discussed on Thursday.

The proposals were submitted before the Covid-19 pandemic and it is unclear what, if any, impact the last three months will have on the scheme.