Third of East Kilbride town centre would be demolished under £100m redevelopment plans
South Lanarkshire Council has launched a public consultation on the plans, which would involve demolishing more than a third of the existing shopping centre and reducing retail spaces by as much as 42 per cent.
There are 75 vacant units and 507,000sqft of empty floor space in the East Kilbride shopping centre. The transformation could reportedly cost as much as £100 million.
East Kilbride was Scotland’s first new town as planners began development in 1947 to move people out of over-crowded housing in Glasgow.
The town centre was created with covered shopping streets, a civic centre council building, health centre and fire station close to the Village area of the town. It has since gone through a number of redevelopment and expansion stages creating a mix of retail spaces.
EK was known as East Kilbride Shopping Centre until administrators were appointed in November last year after the collapse of owner Sapphire.
The administrators from Interpath Advisory have kept the centre open and are now working with the council to develop new plans.
One of the areas selected for potential demolition is Centre West – a three-level complex built between 1999 and 2001 at a cost of £90 million.
Despite being the newest part of the town centre it has since lost anchor tenants including major high street names such as Debenhams, Top Shop and Zara.
The plans have this site earmarked as a potential location a new neighbourhood with private and affordable housing.
The new Civic Hub would have a building that could have a range of uses across the public sector, the arts and education – and a civic square as a meeting place and access point for the town centre.
David Booth, executive director of community and enterprise at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “Without strategic intervention, the town centre will continue to decline and fall further behind its neighbours. We therefore need to show ambition in order to realise the town’s potential.”
Anthony Hubbert, from Threesixty Architecture, said: “Delivering a high-quality urban environment is key. We need to transform the shopping centre from an island in the middle of East Kilbride into the heart of the town by creating a permeable, safe and accessible environment.”
A supermarket is being sought to take over a new space at the Olympia Mall entrance, and a hotel replacing the entrance area near the bus station at Princes Mall. The ice rink and cinema would remain.
Public and stakeholder consultation has begun, with drop-ins at a shop in East Kilbride town centre and a project website launched on September 18.
Mark Hewitt, director of Scoop Assett Management, which was tasked with producing a plan to rejuvenate the town centre, said: "It's time to be radical. If you've got a nicer place to shop and more balanced town centre, then some of those people who are going to Silverburn might be attracted to start shopping local again.”
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