Intu has unveiled plans to launch a Nickelodeon theme park in its Lakeside shopping centre as it steps up proposals to “reimagine” its malls.

The shopping centre landlord has launched the joint venture with Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and leisure park operator Parques Reunidos to create the 50,000 sq ft theme park, which is poised to open in 2018.

The Nickelodeon-themed indoor “family entertainment centre” will form part of Intu Lakeside’s 225,000 sq ft leisure extension.

Intu is ploughing £95m into the space in a bid to combine retail and leisure, and increase dwell time, as it accelerates its strategy to “reimagine the role of the shopping centre”.

Intu said the new addition to the centre will be “highly interactive”, featuring adventure zones, attractions and Nickelodeon-themed rooms designed for birthday parties, in addition to a dedicated food and beverage area and retail space.

The area will also play host to character meet-and-greet sessions, featuring some of Nickelodeon’s most famous children’s TV characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Intu Lakeside will be Nickelodeon’s first shopping centre destination in the UK as Parques Reunidos and VIMN step up their efforts to develop similar family entertainment centres across Europe.

Intu development director Martin Breeden said: “It is our goal to create innovative and compelling experiences for all our visitors and, by working with Parques Reunidos and Nickelodeon, we will be able to offer a new and exciting experience.

This partnership is the next phase of our masterplan for Intu Lakeside, which already has an annual footfall of 23 million, and will see us take our first step in creating a new and compelling leisure experience that lasts from early morning through to late evening.”