Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Friday, 19 February 2010

Bluewater events complex unveiled

Artist impression of the Bluewater Events Venue
It is hoped the complex will create hundreds of jobs

Plans to build a £60m event venue at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, which could create hundreds of jobs, have been unveiled.

Work to construct the 5,200sq m (55,000 sq ft) centre, which will host retail and leisure exhibitions and shows, is expected to start in spring.

Dartford Borough Council welcomed the news saying the venue would be "a catalyst for good in the area".

Bluewater said it hoped the first events would be held in late 2011.

'Ongoing regeneration'

The centre's general manager Andrew Parkinson said: "It is the perfect complement to our existing offer and will create additional reasons to visit Bluewater for both existing and new guests, and become a focal point for leisure and entertainment in the UK.

"The Bluewater Events Venue will also further stimulate the on-going regeneration of the north west Kent region."

The centre will be developed and managed by Lend Lease on behalf of the Bluewater's owners.

Dartford Borough Council's Jeremy Kite said: "We congratulate Lend Lease and Bluewater on the decision to build the Bluewater Events Venue.

"Bluewater is a fantastic catalyst for good in the area, not just in terms of creating opportunities for local people and businesses, but for demonstrating on an international scale what can be achieved by the public and private sectors having a shared sense of scale and ambition."

Bluewater, which was built on the 240-acre site of a former chalk quarry just off the M25, celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009.

Since it opened it has had more than a quarter of a billion visitors and helped create at least 22,000 jobs.

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