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SEA LIFE Aquarium to open at The Trafford Centre

Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has announced today that it will be welcoming global leisure attraction operator, Merlin Entertainments (Merlin) to The Trafford Centre, Manchester.

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council has approved a resolution to grant planning permission for a change of use of existing floorspace at Barton Square, at The Trafford Centre.

 Merlin will open and operate a £6.5 million SEA LIFE aquarium attraction which will be the 14th SEA LIFE in the UK, and will be situated in a 36,000 square feet site in Barton Square next to Merlin's very popular LEGOLAND Discovery Centre which opened in March 2009.

 Julian Wilkinson, Asset Management Director at CSC comments: "The Trafford Centre is really excited to be embarking on plans to bring such a world-class tourist attraction to our 31 million annual shoppers.

 "For CSC, providing innovation to our growing leisure offer is absolutely key; the shopping centre experience is about being more interactive, providing more theatre and being more fun so the introduction of SEA LIFE is a perfect fit for us.

 "We believe that the future of successful shopping centres is inextricably linked to providing a quality leisure experience, and we have seen what SEA LIFE has achieved at other locations not just in the UK but across the world from London to Sydney. We're confident that together we can open a breath-taking facility that communicates the importance of our oceans and the life they contain."

 Set to open in late Spring 2013, the aquarium will see tanks filled with over 1 million litres of water and feature over 5,000 creatures, 30 spectacular marine displays, an underwater ocean tunnel and some yet to be announced exciting features.

 Russell Barnes, Divisional Director Midway Developments at Merlin Entertainments comments: "At SEA LIFE we're passionate about preserving marine habitats and protecting the incredible species that live in them. Marine conversation is at the heart of everything we do - supporting projects across the world to inspire more people to care. We look forward to sharing this with the people of Manchester when they visit what we are confident will be one of our best attractions to date.

 "The Trafford Centre has proved a brilliant location for us so far, with the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre providing one of our most successful launches and we are confident that SEA LIFE will also thrive in this - one of the best shopping centres in the country."

 The attraction will be a celebration of the sea from start to finish, providing an excellent focal point for education and conservation in the region. With over thirty years experience in looking after creatures the brand has a three-pronged approach to conservation - rescue, breed and protect - which can be found at the heart of everything it does.

 SEA LIFE is an active campaigner and does much to raise awareness of the critical issues facing the creatures of the oceans, with the support of its millions of visitors every year. Key campaigns with which SEA LIFE has been involved include the WDCS 2010 Stop Whaling Campaign; petitions to force the Greek government to improve conservation of sea turtle nesting beaches; helping to outlaw the shark-fining industry; and reducing the impact of by-catch on vulnerable species.