Bluewater has been given the go-ahead to expand its West Village area and make alterations to other parts of the shopping centre, set to create 2,300 jobs.
The shopping centre has also promised to make payments to town centres that could lose customers due to the expansions.
Dartford council’s development control board voted unanimously in favour of granting outline planning permission for the improvements, without even debating the issue.
Applicants Blueco and Bluewater Outer Area will need to submit a full planning application before work can start but they intend to make changes to the area known as the town square, close to Pizza Express, and a nearby car park as well as move the coach park.
A two-storey extension could be added onto the West Village, which would extend into the area currently occupied by one of the lakes.
The lake would then be “re-configured”, according to documents submitted to the board.
A nursery near the lake will be demolished and rebuilt elsewhere within the shopping centre.
New buildings are planned for the opposite side of the lake, which will probably be used as food or drink stalls, and pedestrian footbridges would be built across the water.
The applicants also hope to build five separate extensions at various points around the shopping centre to house larger shops.
Robert Goodman, General Manager at Bluewater, welcomed the council's approval.
He said after the meeting: "The proposals to evolve Bluewater are important to ensure it continues to provide its guests with a comprehensive and compelling offer.
"They will also create up to 500 jobs during construction and 2,300 once complete.
"Following the committee’s decision, our focus is now on working in partnership with our stakeholders on the detail of the proposals over the coming months.”