How Glasgow council aims to improve Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street

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There will be a new vision for the three city centre streets.

Glasgow, like all cities and towns across the UK, is having to adapt to shifting shopping habits, as more and more people head online to get their goods - a situation which has been exacerbated by Covid-19.

Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street, in particular, have seen a number of big name closures over the last decade.

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Now Glasgow City Council is looking at how the ‘Golden Z’ - the shape of the three streets - can be ‘reimagined’.

Buchanan Street could be improved.Buchanan Street could be improved.
Buchanan Street could be improved. | AFP via Getty Images

It has appointed a consultant team comprising Stantec, Threesixty Architecture and Kevin Murray Associates, to engage stakeholders in the production of a new vision and plan for the area in and around Buchanan Street, Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street.

They will be speaking to businesses, landowners, residents, shoppers, visitors and more, to look at how the area can be improved and how post-pandemic challenges can be overcome.

It will look at changing retail and leisure trends, growing city centre living and the need to repurpose vacant sites and buildings - as well as the potential contribution of significant future redevelopment proposals, such as those for Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre.

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The former could be demolished, while the latter would also see big changes - both sites would be a mix of retail, office and living space.

The plan will find priorities for intervention and investment, by the public and private sectors, to further stimulate economic recovery of the city centre and support its longer term economic, social and environmental resilience.

The project is funded by the Scottish Government’s City Centre Recovery Fund and will be overseen by Glasgow’s City Centre Task Force, co-Chaired by Councillor Angus Millar and Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Preparation of the new Vision and Plan will run from now until the end of March 2023. The first stakeholder workshops are being planned for late November at The Lighthouse, with further information on how to take part to follow.

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Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, said: “The Golden Z of Sauchiehall, Buchanan and Argyle Streets has traditionally been the retail heart of Glasgow, but changes in the sector mean that action has to be taken to ensure that the area continues to thrive in the future. The Vision and Action Plan for the area will be informed by local businesses and residents - as well as developers and investors - and guide its development in the years to come.”

Professor Brian Evans, Glasgow’s City Urbanist, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the climate emergency and Brexit has had, and is having, major economic, patronage and property consequences for city centres in Scotland and across the UK. This important and timely piece of work will establish ambitious investment, design and development principles for the heart of Glasgow City Centre to help it recover and enhance its role as the economic and cultural epicentre of the metropolitan city region."

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “Glasgow’s city centre is the vibrant heart for Glasgow’s retail, hospitality and tourism sectors, acting as a regional jobs engine. Like all retail centres, changes in economic conditions and consumer spending habits tied with the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have catalysed a fundamental need for change in order to continue to thrive. Glasgow City Council’s masterplanning initiative is a welcome investment, helping to rebuild the area’s reputation of being Scotland’s premier place to work, live and visit. The new masterplan will also positively position the city to attract additional investment as well as supporting existing developments such as the planned Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre redevelopments. Businesses across Glasgow City Centre will very much welcome this move and are delighted that the Glasgow City Council is supporting the role of the City Centre Taskforce in helping to attract investment and create jobs.”

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