The contractor company McLaren has worked closely with the green infrastructure company Biotecture and the Environment Agency to provide a £90M extension to the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Ashford, Kent, that makes it one of the greenest shopping centres in the world.
According to McLaren, the new shopping centre now features a 25,000sq ft green wall, which is essentially a vertical garden, that features more than 120,000 plants and cost £1.5M to create, although it will make up for this heavy cost in the long term by reducing air pollution and increasing biodiversity.
The shopping centre extension also entailed the construction of a new promenade which accommodates 50 new retail spaces as well as an events area, food piazza, interactive children’s play area, and 725 new car parking spaces.
The Environment Agency was enlisted to help contractors to protect local wildlife and thereby ensure a biodiversity net gain from this project.
The Managing Director of Biotecture, Richard Sabin stated: “It is wonderful to see nature having such a prominent role in the shopping centre’s expansion. Not only will the living walls enhance the ambience for visitors, they will improve air quality and biodiversity.”
The Managing Director at McLaren South, Jay Newman commented: “Living walls are proven to help uplift people’s mood, reduce air pollution and aid biodiversity – this installation creates a calming atmosphere at the focal point of the new shopping space, with beautiful vertical gardens covering the walls and providing new habitats for local wildlife.
“The overall design of this project has created an outstanding, environmentally friendly retail destination in a great location. We are proud to have been a part of McArthurGlen’s vision for modern shopping in Kent.”
The Centre Manager of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Ashford, Peter Corr added: “As South East England’s leading designer outlet, and just over 30 minutes from London, our centre has seen 18 years of growth and evolution.
“We welcome over 3.6M visitors every year and in response to market demand, this autumn we are launching a new phase that will elevate the whole shopping experience for our guests and the retail environment for our brand partners.
“This spectacular living wall installation is a key feature of this exciting expansion that will attract new shoppers locally, from London and also internationally.”
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