New planning guidance for tall buildings in Glasgow city centre being developed

Glasgow City Council is developing new planning guidance for tall buildings in the city centre which will guide decisions on their design and location.

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A number of tall buildings in the city centre are currently either being constructed (such as the Candleriggs and Pitt Street developments), have planning consent (Renfrew Street aparthotel) or are proposed (former Marks & Spencer store on Sauchiehall Street and at Port Dundas Road).

More applications for tall buildings are expected in future years as demand for housing and other uses in the city centre grows.  In addition, the repurposing of existing city centre buildings will in some cases necessitate additional height to create more floorspace.

Here’s what the former M&S on Sauchiehall Street will look like after it’s been redeveloped into student accomodationHere’s what the former M&S on Sauchiehall Street will look like after it’s been redeveloped into student accomodation
Here’s what the former M&S on Sauchiehall Street will look like after it’s been redeveloped into student accomodation

Opposing views are held on tall buildings, with supporters promoting their benefits in terms of increasing density, reducing urban sprawl and offering opportunities for refurbishment and re-use, and others suggesting they are unsustainable due to their consumption of energy and resources.

The new guidance aims to ensure that the appropriate development of tall buildings in Glasgow city centre - designed and built with care and innovation and complemented by low and medium-impact development - make the area more liveable, sustainable and diverse as it grows. 

The work to develop this guidance will look at the experience of other cities; examine the topography of the city centre to assess which areas would be most affected by tall buildings; and consider how such buildings contribute to an urban planning strategy that balances economic, environmental, social and cultural aspects.

Council officers held a special meeting of the Glasgow Design Panel - with architects, designers, developers and civic and heritage bodies in attendance - to consider the topic as part of the work on the guidance.

Public consultation on tall building planning guidance will begin in Spring 2024.

A tall building is defined as a building (including roof top structures and masts) that significantly exceeds general building heights in the immediate vicinity and which alters the skyline.

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Development and Land Use at Glasgow City Council, said: “New planning guidance for tall buildings in Glasgow city centre will help achieve our aims of re-populating and re-densifying the city centre in a sustainable way.  When complete, the guidance will ensure that tall buildings meet design standards and are located only in places that are appropriate to their local setting.”