Romford's The Liberty shopping centre to get new food court
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 20 May 2019
The Liberty Shopping Centre is set to have a new food court that aims to bring a "unique combined shopping, eating and drinking experience" to Romford.
Plans for a new food court at The Liberty will see a food court replace the former Sports Direct unit as well as part of the BHS store and nail bar Glitz.
The plans, which were created by architects Prosper on behalf of Cosgrave Property Group, will see the creation of up to 15 fixed vendors as well as two pop-up vendors and a further two cafe-bars.
Inside the new food court, the communal dining area will be located centrally with shared table seating and the two-level venue will include a promotional area and space for community events.
Ronan Rooney, head of commercial property for Cosgrave Property Group, said: "When Sports Direct recently left the centre it created the ideal opportunity to create a significant food and beverage offer in an ideal location opposite the new leisure centre on Western Road and close to the various existing [food and beverage] offers along South Street.
"Essentially, we wanted to build on the existing [food and beverage] offer in the town and create a new and vibrant place for people to come and socialise.
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"Detailed designs are ongoing and interest in the kiosk units is particularly strong. We look forward to bringing the plans to life in the spring of 2020."
The entrance to the Liberty along Western Road will also be changed and both levels of the food court will have a glazed facade in order to open up the new space to some natural light.
In the planning documents, the applicant notes that competition with the high street has meant that shopping centres have had to rethink how they function.
"One such option is the reconfiguration of larger vacant units to create smaller more commercially attractive retail spaces but also to consider how shopping centres can diversify and offer complimentary services such as the introduction of the food and beverage offer into shopping centres.
"[The food court] seeks to bring a unique combined shopping, eating and drinking experience to Romford, through the introduction of a new food court.
"It is also envisaged that the food court concept will assist in reversing the recent trend of shoppers visiting alternative competing centres (Stratford, Lakeside and Bluewater) by offering a unique shopping trip experience, therefore, making the Liberty Centre, and thus the town centre of Romford a more appealing place to live, work and visit."
The application was approved by Havering Council in February and the food court is expected to open in 2020.