Plans have been submitted to improve the front of the Kirkgate Centre as it anticipates competition from the long-awaited Westfield development.

An application outlines proposals to upgrade the facade of the city centre shopping precinct on the corner of Darley Street and Kirkgate, as well as to reconfigure two shops in the building.

Planning officers will consider the application, which would see part of the centre’s facade glazed and fitted with LED lighting to illuminate the corner.

Developers have said there is also scope for an LCD advertising panel on the glazing, although those plans did not form part of the application.

Chris Edge, associate of planning consultants Barton Willmore who are acting as agent for the application, said: “The rationale for it is that it’s an investment for the client and they want to protect it against the future proposals for Westfield when they come on through.

“So the centre hasn’t probably moved with the times as much as it could have done. There’s a limited amount that could be done with it given the money available.

“The client obviously can’t go and invest in a whole shopping centre, it’s investing in part of the shopping centre to make it more attractive to potential future retailers and that includes remodelling the central floor space.”

A planning statement submitted to the Council said it was hoped the development would attract retailers and shoppers in the face of any competition from the Westfield development.

The statement reads: “The proposed development is to ensure that the shopping centre is able to compete effectively against the competition from the Westfield Centre when it is constructed.

“In order to do this, it must be able to offer retailers and shoppers a more modern and attractive retail environment, hence the submission of this planning application which seeks planning consent for the following elements.”