BLUEPRINT Drawn Up To Encourage City Centre Population Growth

19 November, 2019 | News

GLASGOW City Council is to consult on a new City Centre Living Strategy which proposes how the area’s population will double to 40,000 over the next 15 years.

Glasgow lies behind Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham where the city centre populations have been growing faster.

While Glasgow is now seeing a significant increase in both investor interest and planning approvals for private sector rent developments, the need to accelerate this trend has been identified through the City Centre Living Strategy (CCLS), which aims to establish a city centre population of 40,000 by 2035.

A 10-week public consultation on the draft strategy will begin on 29 November.

Population density is now considered crucial to the success and sustainability of city centres. These areas have traditionally been home to a thriving retail sector and, while Glasgow remains the biggest shopping destination in the UK outside of London’s West End, the rise of online shopping and shifting investor demand means that new uses have to be found for redundant floorspace, and residential development offers a good opportunity to re-purpose this space.

The number of people living in UK city centres almost tripled between 2000-2011, as young, single and highly-educated millennials choose to live in urban areas.

Both Glasgow’s city centre strategy 2014-19 and city development plan have contributed to making a more mixed-use (combining leisure with retail) core that is more attractive as a residential location and the new blueprint will further guide the growth of this population and the provision of all the supporting infrastructure and services that will be required.

Glasgow has advantages over other city centres in terms of attracting a wide mix of people thanks to its atmosphere, vibrancy, connectivity and the scale of its shopping and leisure facilities, but there are also challenges around meeting supply and demand for residential development, such as a high proportion of listed buildings that are possibly difficult and expensive to convert and pre-1945 properties.

Research and public engagement over the past couple of years generated some key findings, including:

— A lack of residential availability and choice plus unmet demand;

— Social housing plays a key role in some districts, providing affordable and secure accommodation;

— A perception that private housing in the city centre was expensive, and calls for more variety in housing cost and types;

— The greatest demand for city centre housing was in the Merchant City, Broomielaw and Sauchiehall Districts;

— Different types of infrastructure and tackling cleaning and anti-social behaviour issues are needed to make the city centre liveable; and

The draft living strategy has six key objectives:

— To increase the city centre’s population from just over 20,000 to 40,000 by 2035;

— To find productive outcomes for vacant commercial space, with a particular focus on upper floors;

— To provide a quality city centre environment that is cleaner, greener, more sustainable and better connected;

— To deliver quality in design across all development;

— To offer a responsive, innovative approach to investment opportunities that support this strategy; and

— To enable resilient, empowered and socially cohesive neighbourhoods.

The vision statement for the strategy is: “The City Centre Living Strategy will enable a sustainable, inclusive, diverse and growing population, supported by a physical and policy environment that enables its liveability objectives.”

A draft action plan has been produced to deliver these objectives, some of which focus on specific city centre districts, others on social infrastructure and environmental improvements.

For more about the draft City Centre Living Strategy visit the council’s website.

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