Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has submitted a planning application for an £180m investment which would increase the size of the Lakeside centre by a third.

The investment will include the addition of 325,000sqft of additional retail sales space at the northern end of the Thurrock centre – increasing the size of Lakeside by nearly a third.

If the plans, which have been submitted in an outline application to Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Council, receive planning consent, construction could begin onsite as early as 2013 with the full scheme fully open in 2016.

The extention will incorporate up to 40 new stores alongside Topshop/Topman which opened last month and the new Forever 21 store which will open at Lakeside at the end of next year.

The works will also include an improved transport infrastructure comprising a new bus station linked to Chafford Hundred rail station and provision for a link road to the north of the centre. There will also be a new landscaped external street and public square.

The extension will see the creation of around 2,600 permanent jobs and 1,000 jobs during the construction phase.

The application follows a public consultation which saw the planned expansion backed by 88% of those who provided views at a recent public exhibition in the centre and online.

Jonathan Ainsley, director of asset management (south) at CSC, said: “Lakeside, which celebrated its 21st anniversary this year, continues to be high on retailers’ wishlists as evidenced by the recent Arcadia and Forever 21 deals and the planned extension enables us to accommodate bigger and better stores for many more retailers too.

“We aim to continually evolve and invest in our centres to ensure we are offering the best experience for our shoppers as we can.”