Lakeside Shopping Centre
Template:About Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox shopping mall Lakeside Shopping Centre, (Branded as Intu Lakeside) is a large out-of-town shopping centre located in West Thurrock, in the borough of Thurrock, Essex just beyond the eastern boundary of Greater London. It was constructed on the site of a former chalk quarry. The first tenants moved into the complex in 1988 and it was completed in 1990, being opened on 25 October of that year by Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, Marcus Bradford and Angus Ogilvy.
The shopping centre, in addition to the retail parks, forms one of the largest shopping areas in a single location within Europe, with almost Template:Convert of retail space on a site of Template:Convert. The community of Chafford Hundred has grown to the east of the centre since its opening. Its main rival is the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent just across the River Thames.
The centre was rebranded as "intu Lakeside" in 2013 following the renaming of parent Capital Shopping Centres Group plc as "intu properties plc".
Main shopping centre
The shopping centre is the seventh largest in Britain with Template:Convert available as retail floorspace - the MetroCentre in Gateshead, after its expansion in 2004, is the largest. There are over 250 shops, of which there are 4 anchor stores (Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, Debenhams and Primark), 50 cafes and restaurants and a Template:Convert lake named Alexandra Lake with a PADI certified diving school complex. Intu Lakeside has on average 500,000 visitors per week.
It is currently open on weekdays from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. The centre's car parks have capacity for 13,000 cars.
The centre has a direct link to Chafford Hundred railway station and is connected to the M25 motorway which is London's outermost ring road, as well as to the A13 road which connects central and east London to Basildon and Southend-on-Sea. It is connected to the London Bus network by London Buses routes 370 and 372 with other operators such as Ensignbus and First also providing regular bus services to the centre. Route X80 operated by Ensignbus provides a link to Bluewater across the Dartford Crossing.
To ensure the centre maintains its competition with the newer (and what is perceived by some as more 'upmarket') Bluewater shopping centre, which lies just over the Thames in Greenhithe, Lakeside has recently undergone major refurbishment at a cost of £30 million. This included new Italian porcelain flooring, new lighting, a new ceiling and new glass roofs which allow much more natural light into the shopping centre. There are now also new, faster lifts, and four more escalators, along with automatic entrance doors. The refurbishment has also encouraged refitting of many shops so that they complement the new surroundings. In September 2005, Next opened an Template:Convert. extension to their store.
The Lakeside Pavilion, a market area adjoined to the main shopping centre via a covered bridge was closed in 2006, refurbished, and re-opened in June 2007 as 'The Boardwalk'.
The Boardwalk provides an additional Template:Convert. of retail space for eleven new restaurants along with more retail and leisure space, as well as a 10 metre boardwalk, offering external seating which overlooks Alexandra Lake. The Old Orleans bar and restaurant boat was also refurbished and re-opened on the same day, with new features including a rooftop bar.
Vue cinema formed part of the old Lakeside Pavilion, with a seven screen cinema. This closed on 11 January 2007 to be refurbished, and was re-opened on Friday 15 June 2007; the refurbishment resulted in nine state-of-the-art screens with stadium seating. 'Gold Class', a premium screen that housed luxury seating, has since been abandoned in favour of VIP seating sections in every screen. The 'Evolution Screen', with a combination of giant bean bag chairs amongst VIP seating, was the first of its kind in the UK.
Apple opened<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> its tenth UK store at Lakeside Shopping Centre.
Marks & Spencer, one of the centre's four anchor stores, applied for planning permission in July 2008 to allow construction of a Template:Convert third storey extension to their store, in addition to an extensive refurbishment of the store layout and customer facilities. The application was approved at the end of October 2008 although no construction has taken place as of July 2011.
Supergroup, owners of the Cult and Superdry brands opened its largest-ever store at the centre in July 2010, in the unit previously occupied by Woolworths. Ed's Easy Diner also opened their fifth restaurant in the centre's food court in July 2010.
Taco Bell re-entered the UK market in June 2010 with the opening of its first stores at intu Lakeside.
US fashion giant Forever 21 has recently opened a new Template:Convert flagship store at intu Lakeside, in a three-floor unit.
Intu Lakeside was granted permission in 2012 to extend to include 30-40 new stores, a new footbridge across the Alexandra Lake to the Lakeside Retail Park, a new leisure area, a new 80 bed Travelodge hotel overlooking the river and a brand new transport hub where the current railway station bridge is to allow easier interchange. Intu Lakeside hopes to have these improvements completed by 2016 and estimates the improvements will cost £180 million.
There are also two retail parks nearby called the Lakeside Retail Park and The Junction. Lakeside Retail Park has a number of stores such as:
- Going Places
- JJB Sports
- Maplin Electronics
- Next home
- Next Clearance
- PC World
- Pizza Hut
- SCS Sofas
- The Range
- Toys "R" Us
- Wren Kitchens
- American Golf Discount
- Asda Living (a non-food Asda store)
- Boots UK
- Odeon cinema
- TK Maxx
- M&S Outlet
- Caffe Ritazza (located inside Asda Living)
In August 2009, it was announced that US retail giant Best Buy would be opening one of its first UK stores at The Junction. The company had signed a ten-year lease for a Template:Convert megastore located on the site of the former Courts store. The new store opened 30 April 2010. As of 14 January 2012, this branch and all Best Buy operations in the UK have ceased trading. The former Best Buy building has now reopened as a Kiddicare outlet. In a move to counter the opening of Best Buy, Currys signed up to take on Template:Convert of retail space in Lakeside Retail Park, on the site vacated by Danish Store ILVA. Currys opened the new megastore in spring 2010.
In 1998, Lakesiders was a BBC docusoap narrated by Pauline Quirke following the activities of management, shopkeepers and staff of the shopping centre. The fractious working relationship between Essex FM's breakfast show DJ Martin Day and his boss Paul Chantler also featured. The theme music was by Simon May. A new series, Return to Lakesiders, was filmed by the BBC in 2007 and was broadcast on BBC Two 18–22 August 2008.