Bluewater is expected to become the UK’s largest shopping centre as it applies for planning permission to extend the 1.6 million sq ft centre by 375,000 sq ft.

Lend Lease, the property group which owns the retailer, has launched a consultation for the proposed extension, and the application will be submitted later this year.

The plans were made public by Dartford Council yesterday. The additional space would ensure it is larger than Westfield’s two shopping centres in London and the Metro Centre in Gateshead.

It is understood the new space will extend retail and catering space by a fifth.

Lend Lease head of retail development Richard Coppell said that a “key element of Bluewater’s success” has been the developer’s “proactive evolution” of the centre’s offer.