LAKESIDE is set to undergo a £168million extension that will see a new bus station, multi-storey car park and a public square created.

The ambitious plans include demolishing part of the Debenhams department store to make way for an outside shopping area.

A planning application has been submitted and Lakeside bosses stated they are prepared to invest £168million in the scheme.

It comes a month after plans were announced to demolish a car park and part of House of Fraser to make way for 1,000 homes.

Previously, up to 2,500 homes have been touted, with Lakeside at the centre of a new town.

The expansion plans would create 1,553 temporary construction jobs over a three year period, and 2,930 jobs once completed.

Councillors in the area have praised the plans, but insisted residents’ concerns over infrastructure must be listened too.

Along with the new street-style shopping area at the Debenhams end, the existing bus station could also be knocked down and replaced with a new three-storey department store.

The existing Debenhams store would then be converted to accommodate several new shops.

It is not clear what the future would be for Debenhams in Lakeside, however an Intu spokesperson said: “We are in the process of renewing our planning consent, once that consent is in place we can review where we can go from there.”

Planning documents state that additional stores and changes to the shopping centre’s layout means a new multi-storey carpark will also need to be built near to the new department store.

Close to the car park will also be the new town square. This public space will be a small area free of cars that can be used for art installations and seating areas.

To make up for the loss of the bus station, a modern replacement will be built at the opposite side of the shopping centre, close to the footbridge that connects to Chafford Hundred rail station.

In the plans, it says that repositioning the facility to a more central location that is better connected to the railway station is “an obvious benefit not just for Lakeside but for the Lakeside Basin as a whole”.

The bus station will also allow Lakeside to create a “sophisticated and welcoming concourse” entrance that will be seen by shoppers arriving on the bus.