Concern at pressures on retail
Peel insists £100m Harbour plan will not harm city centre
Harbour lights: the masterplan is ten years in the making and promises to transform the Clyde
A plan to develop a gap site on the River Clyde as a shopping and leisure destination will go before planners who are facing demands to help rejuvenate fire-impacted areas of the city centre.
The £100 million investment in a 350,000 sq ft mixed use development at Glasgow Harbour was first approved in principle ten years ago.
Backers of the Glasgow Harbour Lifestyle Outlet claim it will regenerate a stretch of derelict land on the river and create thousands of jobs.
However, it is likely to put pressure on already hard-pressed city streets following changes in shopping habits and the two recent fires which have devastated local businesses.
The project includes retail units, restaurants and cafes, a waterfront promenade, a cinema, gym, and family leisure facilities.
Retail and leisure bosses are likely to be concerned that online shopping and higher costs on bricks and mortar premises, which has seen many retailers close, may cause displacement of units from the city centre, leaving more gap sites.
There will be added concerns that the Harbour will have a “Braehead effect” and draw people away from the city in the way that Braehead killed the centre of Paisley. Sauchiehall Street was already struggling before this year’s fires which destroyed the Glasgow School of Art and two nightclubs, impacting on nearby shops. Dunnes Stores is among those which have recently closed.
A project is under way to transform the western half of what has been described as a “somewhat hostile, traffic dominated street”. One retail property consultant said this stretch of Sauchiehall Street was still deteriorating despite improvement works.
Sauchiehall Street: in need of further help
Planning permission in principle was granted for the Harbour Outlet in 2008 to rejuvenate the 74-acre site, and application has now been submitted by Glasgow Harbour on behalf of Peel Lifestyle Outlets – a division of Peel Land and Property Group.
Steven Underwood, chief executive of The Peel Group, insisted the Glasgow Harbour development will “complement, support and enhance the surrounding area”.
He added: “Over the past decade, we have invested over £850m in major projects across Scotland, creating 5,500 jobs and 3,500 homes. I’m proud to say Glasgow Harbour Lifestyle Outlet will take Peel’s commitment in Scotland to more than £1bn and we look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the city.”
The first phase of the Glasgow Harbour masterplan was completed by Peel Group in 2008 and involved the construction of 1,100 apartments on the site of the former Meadowside Granary, which was demolished in 2002.
Jason Pullen, Peel Lifestyle Outlets’ managing director, said: “Shopping has evolved to become a major leisure activity. We are creating the next generation of outlet destination by delivering a balanced combination of exciting leisure and entertainment with a strong retail offering.
“Our Lifestyle Outlets are fourth generation outlets and far removed from soulless factory outlets. Glasgow Harbour Lifestyle Outlet will have a multi-generational appeal, as operators are supported by events, activities and performance space.
“The initial £100m investment, as well as delivering crucial construction and retail jobs, represents the next step in fulfilling the Glasgow Harbour masterplan and we’re excited to bring more life back to Glasgow’s Clydeside.”
Overall, it is estimated that the Glasgow Harbour Lifestyle Outlet could generate gross GVA of around £45 million a year within the local economy, though it is not clear if this accounts for any loss of trade elsewhere in the city.
Amion Consulting, an economic impact consultancy, claim it will create 2,000 retail and leisure jobs when complete in 2021,
The report says the scheme has potential to generate up to five million additional visits per year, generating further economic benefit for the wider economy.
Peel Lifestyle Outlets’ in Manchester and Gloucester offer customers experiences including live fashion shows and food festivals alongside cinemas, health and fitness centres and retail. Retailers All Saints, Jack Wills, Cath Kidston, Joules and Nike operate out of the Lifestyle Outlets portfolio.