Cheshire Oaks is set to give itself a massive makeover as a 21st birthday present.
Britain’s first and still biggest designer outlet, opened in 1995 just off the M53 and M56, has a huge quarter-million square feet of retail space with more than 145 boutiques, restaurants and cafés.
It now intends to mark 21 years of stunning success by applying to modernise parts of the popular complex.
The first designer outlet in Europe, now employing 2,500 staff, the village attracts visitors from all over the north of England as well as a growing number of foreign tourists.
Owners McArthurGlen believe reinvestment and refurbishment is the key to maintaining success and the company is about to launch consultations on impressive modernisation plans
New car park deck and entrances
These include the creation of a new car park deck, new car park entrances, a new community space and the introduction of new shops and brands.
There would also be a stunning new children’s play area, a new welcome centre for visitors and a long mooted footbridge link between Cheshire Oaks and Thornton Road.
On the employment front the new changes would create 330 jobs around 250 of which are expected to be filled by residents in the borough.
The company says it already employs 1,540 people who live in Ellesmere Port.
McArthurGlen says the proposed modernisation has come about as a result of customer feedback over a 12-month period with people asking for improved toilets, more visitor information and better car parking.
“We want to create a stylish new state of the art children’s play area in a better location where parents will be able to sit down and have a coffee whilst watching their kids enjoy themselves,” explained Tim Armstead, development manager at McArthur Glen.
“We believe a new car park deck will support our efforts to improve flows around our car parks and will assist our peak traffic managers who operate on weekends and busy traffic days.”
The plans also propose a new community space expected to become ‘a real focal area for major celebrations at Cheshire Oaks’.
This would link to a new relaxing landscaped square close to a new welcome centre.
Visitors also told the survey the street scene around the malls could be improved by distancing the car park slightly.
They also suggested adding a small return parade of shops that would complete the customer trip between the large standalone Polo Ralph Lauren store and Burberry in the upmarket Quarter area of the centre.
The company also wants to include five stylish new kiosk shops in the proposals which will allow new brands to trial an outlet at Cheshire Oaks.
It also argues the new bridge to Thornton Road will bring ‘real benefits’ to local residents and employees many of who walk or cycle to Cheshire Oaks already.
People can get a glimpse into the future when the plans go up at Ellesmere Port Sports Village on Stanney Lane on Monday July 18 from 10am to 6.30pm and on Tuesday July 19 from 9.30am to 2pm.
Centre manager Kenny Murray has disclosed that since opening in 1995 the outlet village has welcomed close to 100 million visitors.
Over half of all international visitors thronging the malls at Cheshire Oaks are said to be from China with a rapid increase in the last three years.