Plans to demolish St Enoch shopping centre and surrounding buildings backed by council

Plans to build more than 900 homes on the site of the St Enoch shopping centre in Glasgow have been given the green light.

The proposals by London-based developer Sovereign Centros will see the demolition of all shopping centre buildings at the city centre site and the construction of a phased mixed-use scheme.

Glasgow Enoch 6

Aerial view of the approved scheme, which will replace Glasgow city centre’s St Enoch shopping centre

The masterplan, designed by London-based practice Leslie Jones Architecture, encompasses nine plots with buildings ranging in height from five to 24 storeys.

Described as a “transformative” scheme for central Glasgow, it will also contain space for retail, offices, leisure and events, along with a gym and a hotel.

It is expected to take around 15 to 20 years to fully complete. The project team also includes Atelier Ten, Woolfar Hunter Engineers, Oobe and Iceni.

The 5.6ha site includes the entirety of the shopping centre and its car park and several surrounding buildings at 47-117 Argyle Street, including a former Debenhams department store.

It also contains the Category A listed Buck’s Head Building, which will be retained and extended to house retail, leisure, office and housing. To the West of the site there is the Category A listed former St Enoch underground station, alongside current subway entrances and a large public realm space.

Buildings that will be demolished include a 30,000sq m extension to the shopping centre approved in 2007.

Despite the large numbers of demolitions and the scheme’s proximity to listed buildings, Scottish Natural Heritage concluded the proposals would be unlikely to have a significant effect on any protected sites.

Historic Environment Scotland initially objected to the plans in June last year but withdrew its objection in November following talks with Glasgow council and Sovereign Centros.

The council’s planning officer concluded the application represented a “significant opportunity to repair part of the city centre that currently exists as a mainly inward facing block with little engagement or connectivity to surrounding streets”.

“Despite the extent of demolition proposed, the potential transformational benefits to the city centre in terms of re-population, placemaking, sustainability, air quality, biodiversity and health and wellbeing from the development, cannot be underestimated,” the officer said.

The plans have been designed to align with a Glasgow council strategy to double the city centre population to 40,000 by 2035 by supporting residential schemes in the city centre.