POPULAR city centre steps are to be demolished to make way for a multi-million pound shopping centre expansion.
Councillors have approved plans to extend Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries, spelling the end of the steps outside the Royal Concert Hall.
An online petition to save the landmark has so far attracted more than 14,000 signatures.
The steps are a popular seating and meeting area, and the spot is often used for rallies and photoshoots.
But the council says the plans will help maintain Glasgow’s reputation as the UK’s second shopping destination after London.
The £390 million shopping-centre expansion will see the erection of an “entrance atrium” to the concert hall and mall on Buchanan Street, and the car park will be demolished and replaced.
Up to 50,000 sq ft of new retail space is proposed at the south end of the current Buchanan Galleries site.
Council leader Gordon Matheson said: “The expansion of Buchanan Galleries will improve the city centre’s public realm and infrastructure, and generate 1,500 jobs.
“We are justifiably proud in Glasgow city centre being the UK’s second biggest retail destination, but to ensure we remain in such a position new ways of attracting visitors and investors must be found. The expansion of the Galleries will help us to do so.”
SNP councillor Susan Aitken said the steps had become an important part of the city’s built heritage.
She said: “The best way to ensure the renewed Buchanan Quarter meets the needs, wishes and aspirations of Glaswegians is to consult in a genuinely transparent way.
“That will only happen when the council and developers work with the people on new ideas.
“There is still time for the council and developers to listen to the people of Glasgow.
“We support those who are raising concerns over the proposed removal of the Buchanan steps and will do whatever is possible to ensure the voice of the people is heard clearly by the council and the administration.
“We need more public space in the city centre, not less. The citizens of Glasgow have made their views clear, the people stand for the steps and the council should too.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS