Bluewater Shopping Centre
Vectos is retained by Land Securities, on behalf of Blueco Ltd. to advise on transport planning aspects in relation to the evolution of Bluewater in Kent. Bluewater Shopping Centre is an out-of-town shopping centre in Stone, Kent, outside the M25 Orbital motorway. The site, which was a former chalk quarry, occupies 240 acres (97 ha) and has a sales floor area of 154,000 m2 (1,600,000 ft2) over three levels, making it the fourth-largest shopping centre in the UK. There are currently 330 stores, 40 cafés and restaurants, and a 13-screen cinema. The centre employs 7,000 people and serves over 27 million visitors a year.
In 2016, Vectos advised on the redevelopment of the Bluewater Glow Events Venue, to provide an extension to the existing cinema, together with additional family orientated leisure uses and restaurants. Vectos argued that leisure uses, including a cinema, and restaurant facilities already exist at Bluewater, operating in conjunction with the retail element to provide added entertainment for customers. Therefore, additional leisure uses at Bluewater would provide additional choice and space for existing customers, without generating significant additional trips. In addition, trips to leisure uses tend to be in evenings and on weekends, avoiding typical peak hours. The local highway authority accepted this argument, and resolved to grant planning permission. An updated Travel Plan for the whole of Bluewater was produced by Vectos as part of the Glow application.
Also in 2016, Vectos advised on the outline planning application for the redevelopment of the West Village and development of the ‘inner triangle’ to provide an additional 30,000 sqm of retail space. Vectos again argued that additional retail floor space will not relate to a proportional increase in trips to Bluewater, instead providing more choice for existing customers. This was accepted by the local highway authority and Highways England. Planning permission was granted in 2017. As part of the application, Vectos reviewed the walking and cycling infrastructure within and surrounding Bluewater, and suggested amendments where appropriate. Vectos has also provided design advice and swept path analysis to assist the subsequent detailed application for an element of the scheme.
Most recently, Vectos has been looking into a number of options on how a new bus route can link to the existing bus station, working closely with the project architects and cost consultants.