A new shopping centre in Leeds has been given the go-ahead by the city council's plans panel.

Victoria Gate will receive a £130 million makeover in proposals laid out by retail construction company Hammerson. A formal decision was made by councillors at Civic Hall and will see work begin on the 37,000 sq m facility in spring. This represents the first phase of the development which is set to create a major boost for the city's commerce as well as stimulating the employment market.

At the moment, the section of the city is known as Eastgate Quarter but with the continued renovation of Victoria Gate it is hoped that it will bring more people into Leeds. The Yorkshire city recently completed another major retail development with the creation of Trinity Leeds.

This shopping centre houses a host of shops, bars and restaurants as well as a boutique cinema and is aimed at allowing Leeds to compete with the likes of Manchester and London for shopping outlets.

Officials explained that Victoria Gate will add to the multitude of shopping outlets the city has to offer with around 30 retailers being housed in the development. Among these is a new flagship John Lewis store which will span 24,000 sq m, which is said to draw on Leeds' "proud textile history". It will also link to the existing Victoria Gate and include an 800-space multistorey car park.

Employment is also expected to be boosted with around 2,700 construction opportunities expected to be created, while 1,500 retail and hospitality jobs will be generated once it open in autumn 2016.

Joe Swindells, Hammerson project director for Victoria Gate, said: "We are fully committed to creating a retail development that will not only reaffirm Leeds’ status as a top retail destination for luxury and aspirational brands in the UK, but will also add value to Leeds’ local economy and community.”

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