In Pictures: Glasgow approves vision and delivery plan for city centre’s ‘Golden Z’
Plans to regenerate derelict gap sites on Glasgow’s main shopping streets have been detailed in a new plan for the so-called ‘Golden Z’ area of the city.
The Vision and Delivery Plan for the Golden Z in Glasgow city centre - Argyle, Buchanan and Sauchiehall Streets - was approved at a Glasgow City Council committee today.
It is hoped that the plan will ensure Glasgow’s retail core area is more resilient, diverse and green in the future. It identifies areas for intervention and investment, by the public and private sectors, that will support recovery and long-term resilience.
The Golden Z Vision document is structured around six themes:
- Balanced - the document considers how and where to diversify the range of uses across the Z. The importance of good quality retail premises and their concentration on the prime spine of Buchanan Street is highlighted, complemented by a greater mix of restaurant, café, bar and leisure uses to activate key routes and adjoining streets. The need for more homes, workspaces and cultural attractions to enliven the Z through different times of the day and evening is outlined.
- Legible - it explores how the Golden Z, as the recognised spine of how we navigate the city centre, can contribute to more sustainable travel, be made more accessible, permeable and benefit from better connected movement networks and urban spaces.
- Living - it explores opportunities to create new homes of various tenures and formats, (including affordable, family, student and later living homes) within new and repurposed buildings and upper floors. The need to provide centrally located community facilities and services to enable their development is highlighted.
- Working - it highlights the opportunities around the Z to create new agile workspace, building on recent successes such as McLellan Works on Sauchiehall Street. Nurturing links with educational institutions is also explored.
- Vibrant - it reinforces the strong cultural offer in and around the Golden Z and explores how cultural attractions and institutions can be better integrated to enhance cultural participation and boost the leisure economy, particularly the Sauchiehall Street cluster. The importance of ensuring a vibrant and safe city centre providing culture, music, bars and restaurants which enhance the city’s economy and destination appeal is highlighted, as is the contribution of meanwhile uses.
- Responsible - it outlines how the Golden Z can progress the city’s response to the climate emergency; in progressing carbon neutrality, increasing density, property repurposing, greening the grey and in ensuring the city core is accessible, safe and welcoming for all.
The redevelopment of three ‘areas of focus’ - the former ABC / Jumpin Jacks site adjoining the Glasgow School of Art, the area on Sauchiehall Street around the former BHS, Watt Bros, and former Victoria’s nightclub gap site, and the around the vacant TJ Hughes site near Trongate - has been identified as key to the success of both the local areas and the wider Golden Z.
The vision and delivery plan reimagines the Golden Z, responding to the post-pandemic challenges and opportunities currently facing the city centre. The council and its consultants - Stantec (UK), Threesixty Architecture and Kevin Murray Associates - engaged with the area’s landowners, businesses, institutions, agencies, residents and visitors to discuss how best the Golden Z should be improved in the future.
As part of the engagement, consideration was given to the main issues currently affecting the Golden Z - such as the impact of changing retail and leisure trends, a growing city centre population, lingering post-pandemic behaviour changes in how we shop, work and live, and the pressing need to repurpose vacant sites and buildings in the area, changing investor and occupier demands - as well as the potential contribution of significant future redevelopment proposals, such as those recently announced for both the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre.
The new vision and delivery plan will provide a clear direction on the future development of the Golden Z, giving confidence to businesses, residents, investors and developers. The vision and plan identified key priorities for intervention and investment - by both the public and private sectors - that will deliver the area’s economic recovery and underpin its economic, social and environmental resilience.
Five priority objectives will require to be achieved to deliver the Vision for the Golden Z:
- Diversification of uses,
- Densification & retrofit of land and buildings,
- Creation of world-class public spaces,
- Improving connectivity and accessibility, and
- Ensuring inclusivity and appeal to a more diverse range of users
To achieve these objectives, and have a transformative impact, the following actions/interventions have been identified as a focus for action: progressing the redevelopment options for the three ‘areas of focus’; proactively tackling blight and promoting good stewardship of buildings and sites; the creation of world-class public spaces; exploring the creation of a Sauchiehall Cultural District; and ensuring cross-sector collaboration in delivery and the exploration of governance.
It is also recommended that the council explores the use of its statutory enforcement powers to tackle incidences of poor stewardship and blight, including vacant land and buildings and those in a poor state of repair.
While the council has a key role in enabling and coordinating action and leveraging efforts for joined-up regeneration of the Golden Z, the Delivery Plan emphasises the need for ongoing collaboration across the sectors - and with all stakeholders - to realise the area’s enormous potential.
The ambitions and actions of the Vision and Plan for the Golden Z will be reflected in the council’s forthcoming City Centre Strategy for 2024-30, and the council will continue to work with stakeholders to deliver these ambitions.
Councillor Angus Millar, convener for City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, said: “Sauchiehall, Argyle and Buchanan Streets have long been at the heart of the city centre experience, but these key thoroughfares have been increasingly impacted by the major structural economic changes that are affecting city centres everywhere. Having a particular focus on this historic shopping area will help ensure it adapts to the changing retail sector and takes the opportunities coming its way.
“The actions within the plan for the ‘Golden Z’ will support our efforts to encourage a more diverse mix of uses in the city centre, including new residential accommodation, as well as finding positive solutions for key sites and supporting the repurposing of vacant property. The continued rollout of the Avenues programme and a new city centre greening strategy will help improve the area’s look and feel, while we also want to capitalise on its fantastic cultural and creative assets as part of the regeneration of Sauchiehall Street.
“We look forward to working with partners in pursuing this vision, with this work being an important part of our wider Glasgow City Centre Strategy which will be published and consulted upon in the coming weeks.”
The Golden Z 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.