Prime shopping centres in regional areas continue to benefit from huge investments into growth, as the strong consumer confidence at present allows ever increasing numbers of retailers to expand.
Therefore, despite the fact that a £20 million leisure extension has recently opened at Glasgow’s Silverburn shopping centre, owner Hammerson has this week revealed an even more ambitious expansion plan which would see up to 1,000 new jobs created at the south side destination.
Under the plans, which would mark the fourth phase of improvement works at Silverburn, the London based developer will create space for dozens of new retail units, a new leisure complex, a community centre and an 110 bedroom hotel if the expansion drive is granted planning approval by Glasgow City Council.
Hammerson will also improve the surrounding public realm by installing a park in close proximity to the centre, and will enhance access by adding 2,000 parking spaces and upgrading the road network.
Glasgow City Council planning officials are understood to have recommended that politicians grant permission for the scheme to go ahead, believing that the project could boost the local economy by a massive £80 million per year. A spokeswoman for Hammerson hinted that the developer is optimistic about the planning decision.
She said; “We welcome the decision to recommend planning approval and we are hopeful of a positive outcome.
“Approval would mark an important next step in delivering on our plans for the much needed wider regeneration of the area which we believe can realise significant benefits for the local community and beyond.”
Unfortunately, though, the plans have not been unanimously welcomed by businesses operating in the area, with Hammerson facing a high level of opposition by its own tenant Tesco. The supermarket giant believes that the expansion plans could have a negative impact upon trade in its own store, and has claimed Hammerson does not “have control of the Tesco car park land which forms a significant element of the proposed expansion.”
A spokesman for the retailer said; “We want to see a successful and thriving Pollok town centre and we’re proud to be part of the community.
“However, we are concerned that the application includes a substantial proportion of our store’s car park, for which we have a very long lease.”
Hammerson will also have to battle with the National Savings and Investment (NS&I), which has recently agreed to the sale of a derelict 1960s structure and surrounding land at nearby Cowglen to housebuilder Persimmon. Yet this transaction will not be finalised until plans for more than 500 homes are granted permission – a step which will not be able to take place if Silverburn’s expansion goes ahead.
A spokesman for NS&I explains; “NS&I have agreed the sale of the Cowglen site to Persimmon.
“They are purchasing the entire site and therefore Hammerson’s planning application includes land that will ultimately be owned by Persimmon.
“It was agreed with Persimmon that the representation with regards to this planning application would come from NS&I as the current landowners.”
Ultimately, this situation means that one side of the argument will be left disappointed by the planning decision of Glasgow City Council. However, with a huge boost to the local economy at stake, it seems Hammerson may well gain permission in the very near future.