Retail: Unanimous planning approval for Ashford Designer Outlet extension

Europe's 'largest green wall' scheme gets the green light. 

On the 23rd of September, plans for a significant expansion to Ashford Designer Outlet in Kent, UK, were given the green light by Ashford Borough Council. Council members were overwhelmingly supportive of extending the scheme due to Ashford Designer Outlet’s contribution to the Kent economy. The Outlet centre is famous for attracting affluent long-haul tourist, tourists from Continental Europe and day-out visitors with year-round savings.  
This will add around 100,000 ft², to the current 185,000 ft² of retail space, to create one of the UK's flagship designer outlets.  
The new extension is designed by Chapman Taylor, who along with Applied Landscape Design, have designed a stunning 'green' wall cladding system to reflect the centre's location in Kent, the Garden of England. The walls of many of the stores in the new extension will be 'living', clad in tens of thousands of plants, all stacked vertically. The stores' canopies will pick up on the pavilion theme of the canopy roof in the existing part of the centre.

This is Ashford Designer Outlet's first extension since the centre opened in 2000 and it will add a further 38 shops to the 80 already there - plus restaurants, 725 extra car parking space, a new events space and children’s play area and more links to the town centre. 
Nick Thursby, a Director at Chapman Taylor’s Bristol design studio commented “Our brief from our client McArthurGlen, Europe's leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, was to create a world-class retail environment that better linked with Ashford's town centre. Kent is often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’ and this theme has been expanded upon by the use of ‘green’ facades throughout the new phases which will make it the longest living wall in Europe. We are delighted that Ashford Borough Council has given the green light to this innovative extension and we look forward to supporting McArthurGlen enhance the Ashford shopping experience and bring in new brands to complement the existing offer.”
The Designer Outlet currently employs more than 1,000 people, which is due to rise by a further 500 with the centre's expansion. In order to realise the new extension, 170 construction staff will also be employed. The extension is due to be completed in 2018.

For more information please contact:
Nick Thursby

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