Multi-million pound centre:mk upgrade approved

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John Lewis today confirmed that plans for the major refurbishment and upgrade of its Milton Keynes department store have been unanimously agreed by Milton Keynes Council. The Council’s planning committee resolved to grant planning permission and listed building consent at its meeting on Thursday evening, January 19th.

Paul Hunt, Managing Director, John Lewis Milton Keynes, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that our proposals for the refurbishment have been agreed by Milton Keynes Council. Our multi million pound investment in our department store will benefit local shoppers and will contribute significantly to the vitality and appeal of Milton Keynes and the centre:mk. This will also help to ensure the town retains its rightful role as the regional shopping destination of choice.”

The refurbishment will modernise and transform the shopping environment for John Lewis customers, providing a broader product range and a host of new brands. Existing departments will be improved with new retail concepts, providing a more inspiring retail experience. Access to the department store for shoppers will also be improved and part of the shop reconfigured to increase the sales area by around 20,000 sq ft.

Paul Hunt added: “Our proposals demonstrate the commitment we have to the town after trading here for over 30 years. Agreement of our plans guarantees the long term future of John Lewis Milton Keynes and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes take shape ahead of the final reveal later this year.”

John Lewis’s investment is forecast to contribute to increased customer spending of around £10-15 million per annum and will help the city to retain much of the spending which has been migrating to other regional centres.

Robert Hall, Centre Director, thecentre:mk, said: “We are very pleased with the council decision to grant permission for the multi-million pound refurbishment of John Lewis in thecentre:mk.

“The refurbishment comes as part of thecentre:mk’s continued commitment to the ongoing establishment of the centre as the region’s premier shopping destination.

“As a listed building, it is imperative that we work to maintain the important features of the listing while still facilitating the creation of a new and modern retail space, and there is no doubt in our minds that a refurbished and enhanced John Lewis department store will help us do this.”

Construction will start in early spring 2012 and is expected to take seven months. The work will be carefully phased to enable the department store to remain open throughout the process with minimal disruption to customers.

John Lewis was advised by CBRE, Steven Bee of Urban Counsel, and Brooker Flynn Architects.