Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

£390m Buchanan Galleries extension wins approval

February 24 2015

£390m Buchanan Galleries extension wins approval
A £390m proposal to extend Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries shopping mall has been approved by Glasgow City Council, clearing the way for work to proceed on than ambitious rebuild of the existing centre this summer.

Architects BDP have drawn up plans to create a new entrance atrium at Killermont Street whilst decking over the entrance to Queen Street Station and demolishing an existing car park to make way for a new M&S store and cinema.

More controversially replacement parking provision will be provided in a 1,500 space MSCP overlooking George Square and the Buchanan Street steps will be demolished to make way for a new ‘entrance atrium’ and through route to the bus station.

GCC leader Gordon Matheson said: “This planning consent will unlock over £300million of private sector investment for Glasgow.  Alongside our TIF scheme, the expansion of Buchanan Galleries will improve the city centre’s public realm and infrastructure, and generate 1500 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.”

Separate plans have been submitted for an extension to the Millenium Hotel, intended to blot out the bulk of the mass of the planned car park.
Attempts will be made to engage with streets that the present centre turns its back on
Attempts will be made to engage with streets that the present centre turns its back on
The Concert Hall steps will make way for a new public space
The Concert Hall steps will make way for a new public space


#1 Posted by james on 24 Feb 2015 at 14:47 PM
boaby wan
#2 Posted by boaby wan on 24 Feb 2015 at 15:12 PM
can't believe they have allowed the steps to be demolished, for that!
Although looking at the planning portal, that application is marked as pending decision so not sure why Matheson would be addressing the press prior to the decision...
#3 Posted by james on 24 Feb 2015 at 15:39 PM
pending the customary 30 pieces being handed over
#4 Posted by Roddy on 24 Feb 2015 at 15:49 PM
Gordon Matheson's pronouncements, even in print, induce my gag response.(Is it just me?).This scheme does much the same.

Accretions of the banal to an already deeply flawed piece of the city is a scandal. The removal of elements that work, and work well is a crime. A separate unbuilt proposal attempting to obscure another unbuilt proposal is preposterous . Glasgow must be the laughing stock of the urban design world.

"...intended to blot out the bulk of the mass of the planned car park"
Glad to see UR is not mincing its words with this one.
#5 Posted by Jamie on 24 Feb 2015 at 16:22 PM
It wasn't even close the council won 11 votes in favour to 4 opposed. Has everyone gone mad?
#6 Posted by Becca on 24 Feb 2015 at 16:42 PM
What happened to scale and context in design… This is a shocking mis-appropriation of well used public space on Buchanan Street and the addition of many more square metres of retail space which Glasgow doesn't necessarily need. So many design issues, not least the new, enormous, multi-storey carpark on George Square?
#7 Posted by Roddy on 24 Feb 2015 at 16:43 PM
Interested to know if A+DS design forum got to review this particular scheme.
Anyone ?
Bill BurgE
#8 Posted by Bill BurgE on 24 Feb 2015 at 18:01 PM
just a thought , could they not build an underground car park instead of this monstrosity
Maggie Boyd
#9 Posted by Maggie Boyd on 24 Feb 2015 at 20:56 PM
Since the 60s councils have been making ridiculous, expensive decisions and ruining priceless examples of our architecture. I believe they do this to perpetuate their own names and feed their egos. They want to leave their mark on our cities, whether it's good for the people and/or our history, or not.
Paved Paradise
#10 Posted by Paved Paradise on 24 Feb 2015 at 21:09 PM
What is the point of local democracy if the people, who have quite clearly spoken, do not wish an important part of their city to be destroyed?

This is like watching an act of vandalism happen in slow motion.
Paved Paradise
#11 Posted by Paved Paradise on 24 Feb 2015 at 21:11 PM
Given the acres of space and ugly building all sides of the Buchanan development, why not build something attractive on the gap site to the east of the station and move the car park up towards the bus station (where it will arguably clog up the traffic less.

This scheme is so staggeringly stupid and anti-urbanist that it make me pine for Coatbridge precinct.
Brian carlin
#12 Posted by Brian carlin on 24 Feb 2015 at 22:08 PM
looking forward to the next council elections when this bunch of carpet-bagging Cowboys are surgically removed from operating anymore property developing sweetheart deals. Bye-bye labour.
Lucy Jamieson
#13 Posted by Lucy Jamieson on 24 Feb 2015 at 22:19 PM
Another cinema?! Cineworld is already struggling and the old Odeon site is still empty.
More space in the shopping centre? The centre management keep outpricing retailers so there are always empty units as it is.
Removing the one area in the city centre that local people and workers can sit and enjoy a sunny day and listen to the talented musicians in our city while they do.
Really good at representing the people GCC. Why are we not focussing on generating income to places like Sauchiehall St where yet another retailer closed its doors for the last time this weekend? Or maybe encourage businesses to invest more in the areas of the city that need it?
Methilated Spirits
#14 Posted by Methilated Spirits on 24 Feb 2015 at 23:02 PM
This proposal is complete madness! As there is only a fixed amount of retail spending available in the Glasgow area, it will only mean shop closures elsewhere in the city centre - in Trongate, Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street particularly - and less jobs for the city overall not the 1,500 claimed!! Who falls for this nonsense about jobs we hear all the time? What is going to be done about the resulting empty shops and who is going to pay to put things right? Quite apart from the urban design issues mentioned above.
#15 Posted by Roddy on 25 Feb 2015 at 01:19 AM

I will answer my own question, if I may, as I have just read the report on the A+DS website.

In all fairness A+DS knew it was a stinker back in '07 when it was reviewed by the design forum. Slightly different scheme which , if you remember, included Buchanan Bus Station at the time. Same dramatis personae.

From their report of 08/06/07....

"The Royal Concert Hall steps at the top of Buchanan Street provide a successful and well-used public space and an important nodal point within the city. We recognise the need for improved access into the concert hall at this location; however we are concerned with the way in which the proposed atrium building would privatise this space and dominate views from Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street. We do not feel that this iconic space requires an iconic building and we would urge the project team to explore alternatives for improving access and tying the two complexes together without jeopardising the successful space that already exists."

They further conclude...

"Many of our concerns raised in the previous report have yet to be addressed however, and we cannot support the proposals at this stage. We are not convinced by the requirement for the proposed link bridge and concert atrium building, and we question the benefit these would bring to the City. We feel the project could be more adventurous in its density and more ambitious in creating an integrated transport hub for the City. We would encourage the City Council and Land Securities to continue dialogue with bus and rail operators in order that an integrated and sustainable city centre for Glasgow may be promoted. We would like to be re-consulted on this project."

Nice to know that the developer, architects and elected officials have shamefully chosen to completely ignore the advice. Astonishing that the architects have not developed their proposition beyond that of 7 years ago. It is obviously plain that A+DS were not re-consulted.

On reflection it perhaps shows A+DS to be a milk-and-water organisation( a view which, it is evident many developers believe) rather than one which has any teeth.

Sir Ano
#16 Posted by Sir Ano on 25 Feb 2015 at 06:29 AM
So we allow city centre shopping malls to degrade our city centres just as much as out of town ones.

#17 Posted by RJB on 25 Feb 2015 at 07:43 AM
while bits of this scheme are quite laudable . The removal of the steps is a disgrace, hope common sense is found before it's too late
Tam O shitter
#18 Posted by Tam O shitter on 25 Feb 2015 at 08:07 AM
Haters going to hate,400 Million investment 2000 new jobs,world class reatail space and gives the Concert hall a new life.

The complaints here sound like disaffected Yessers bemoaning the loss of "their " steps or the usual ponces
#19 Posted by FHM on 25 Feb 2015 at 08:40 AM
Brilliant. This is amazing. I think we in Aberdeen could learn a few things from this scheme. Perhaps BDP and HFM could team up and improve the city centre once and for all?
Paved Paradise
#20 Posted by Paved Paradise on 25 Feb 2015 at 09:16 AM
Tam O shitter...

I'm a staunch 'no'er' and I can assure you events of last September have nothing to do with my 'complaint' about the loss of public space.

And, your £400 million in investment is contingent on some of the most ludicrous retail and economic predictions I have ever seen.

This has PFI written all over it.
A ponce
#21 Posted by A ponce on 25 Feb 2015 at 10:47 AM
Apart from the throwaway homophobia #19, I doubt very much whether 2000 jobs will be the net gain to the city of this development, we're likely to see a further degradation of existing retail on Sauchiehall St and the Trongate. The only people who benefit from this mall are multinational chains who do everything they can to ensure as little of their tax money remains in the UK.
#22 Posted by Roddy on 25 Feb 2015 at 11:54 AM

Which bits are laudable? Have you looked at the drawings?
#23 Posted by Rem-Job on 25 Feb 2015 at 13:09 PM
Glasgow Rejects People
#24 Posted by RJB on 25 Feb 2015 at 13:53 PM
#22 . laudable was probably a poor choice of words. I was interested in the attempt to "engage with the streets that the present centre backs on to". 1- the creation of frontage along cathedral street, though the earlier arch proposal seems to have gone. Hopefully this would break down the urban barrier that the galleries seem to have created to the east 2- the entrance on Dundas street next to queens street .hopefully this would improve the area around queen street station.
Trudi Millar
#25 Posted by Trudi Millar on 25 Feb 2015 at 14:57 PM
Think there are far more important things that £390 million pounds could be spent on at this moment in time . People are struggling and using foodbanks and this is what GCC thinks is a good thing.Also the steps have become a ffavourite meeting spot for alot of Glaswegians.Again it comes down to greed and not what the ordinary folk of Glasgow want.
Pablo Hill
#26 Posted by Pablo Hill on 25 Feb 2015 at 16:28 PM
I like it. It's round and not very steppy, which is good, because I'm lazy and don't enjoy steps as my mobility scooter struggles with their vertical edges.
#27 Posted by Ella on 25 Feb 2015 at 17:27 PM
Roddy, the problem is that a+ds do not have any teeth. They are not statutory consultees. They can really only help as part of proper pre-app process with the local authority. Gcc should have referred this to them but didn't. I expect that the council will be very pro this to create jobs rather than thinking about the city it will destroy and jobs that will go at trongate e.t.c. Pure short termism as usual. Shopping malls date, they create depressing spaces and ruin streets apes. i despair at the planners. Do none of them understand urbsn design? What does the supposed head if design have to say about it?? The bus station proposal was not as bad as it at least made more of the station site and made a better street environment on Renfrew street. I think people need to really protest this, especially the loss of the steps. Is this the vision for glasgow? A giant mall and car park? Should we be encouraging cars? This is not 1980!
#28 Posted by Marc on 25 Feb 2015 at 17:44 PM

Labour has SOLD YOU OUT. Glasgow is not a shopping mall... This is the same bulls** that has ruined NYC, Paris and London - there's no community, no infrastructure for people - only shops, shops and roving hoards of indifferent consumers to trash the place every weekend. DUMP MATHESON. and STOP THIS - you kept him from ruining George Square!
#29 Posted by chico on 25 Feb 2015 at 18:11 PM
Jobs for the city hopefully Glaswegians also the step were getting used as a smokers area
#30 Posted by Roddy on 25 Feb 2015 at 22:19 PM
@#27 Ella
You are absolutely right .
You may recall the rubber stamping of the horrendous Broomielaw pavilions a number of years ago . This scheme was slated by A+DS in the most withering terms, yet was deemed up to snuff by our esteemed planners and committee. I'm sure A+DS forum members will attest that there are many more projects out there breaking ground that have simply not passed muster. Incidentally, the proposals for Queen St Station redevelopment have also cunningly body swerved both the council planning authority and everyone else given its procurement via a TAWS order. The public consultations organised in support of this were an affront to anyone that could vaguely read a plan and an insult to those that could not. I made the mistake of attending. I digress...
The point is this: the Scottish Government want to advance the agenda of excellence in the built environment through A+DS ,yet they have had little or no influence on the more strategic projects which have crossed the desk of the council in the last 4-5 years .The Design Forum, it seems, is little more than a talking shop. Perhaps we need a legislative change from ScotGov that gives them a more central role in the planning / design phase , or more importantly, a role which is just better promulgated. Remember that they are funded to the tune of £1.7m, a not insignificant sum in today's climate. If the public are to view their travails as a success, surely we should look to them to do more than just advocate good design . Notwithstanding, we should hold them to account in the same way the government holds them to account.
#31 Posted by Roddy on 25 Feb 2015 at 22:27 PM
@#24 RJB
I too get excited by the prospect of streets being 're-activated', ' engaging' , 'creation of frontage' . These are certainly laudable aspirations.
We need however, to take a closer look at what will be activated at street level and is therefore cause for praise and what will not.

• Killermont St 25% active to 75% non active frontage including vehicular access and escape doors, roller shutters and the like
• Around the corner @ Hanover St about 20% active to 80% non active , including more expanse of granite cladding , no less than 15 sets of escape/ service doors
• Car park North elevation: about 33% active to 67% non active. Yet more escape doors and vehicular entrance to the car park
• Car park East elevation :- I wont bother with the stats but with the exception of 2 glazed entrances , the rest follows the above fairly closely .A service yard aesthetic of blank service/escape doors , vehicular access and intake/extract louvres.
• Dundas St. still remains a service access with its familiar brick service yard aesthetic and service gates
• Buchanan St. (next to Britannia Assurance building) and North Cathedral St will be the only exceptions to activation but presumably within retail hours only
• Concert hall steps effectively privatised by its new enclosure.

I miss anything out?
This is what you get with a building with such a big footprint and deep plan. Fire escapes, lifts, service zones and vehicular access are all pushed out to the perimeter to maximise usable floor space .Whilst it is understandable for escape reasons it nevertheless produces an awful streetscape. The steps are merely the tip of the iceberg. We should rightly feel short-changed, not to say aggrieved by this.
#32 Posted by Roddy on 25 Feb 2015 at 22:45 PM
Perhaps Redevco should dust off their old George House Scheme while the Planning Dept are feeling so generous. Scandalous that it was refused in light of what has just been endorsed.
#33 Posted by james on 26 Feb 2015 at 08:07 AM
Dear Urban Realm, after publishing it, I see today you have now censored out a comment of mine (I do not record comment) There must have been a truth in there that you did not like. Censorship is apt considering the Gulag language that I employed. That is the only item that you may have taken offence to. The adjective I used regarding architects, places them accurately on a food chain within this society. To think that A+DS can withstand the forces of change (ie capital moving out of London) is risible. Architecture? This Yupas Tree development has got nothing to do with it.
#34 Posted by james on 26 Feb 2015 at 09:30 AM
Fair play, as they say, to Urban Realm. Acknowledged. Incidentally, Upas tree is the correct spelling, cited after the SG Checkland book on the economic growth and contraction in Glasgow 1875-1975. A useful read for a historical perspective.

Post your comments


All comments are pre-moderated and
must obey our house rules.


Back to February 2015

Search News
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.