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East Kilbride set for £40m retail and residential development

Shoppers at East Kilbride Shopping Centre could soon have more choice after plans were submitted for a new £40m development.

EAST Kilbride could be in line to benefit from a new £40 million retail and residential development if detailed plans submitted by a Glasgow-based asset and property management company are approved.

London & Scottish Investments (LSI) plans to develop 115,000 sq ft of space it acquired from Tesco in 2015. The development is expected to create more than 250 new retail jobs, with further employment opportunities during the construction period.

With 108,000 square feet of retail space housed within 12 units, plus two restaurant units of 3,595 square feet each with drive through facilities, Bryan Wilson, group development director at London & Scottish Investments, confirmed that it is the largest retail development that LSI is currently progressing in Scotland.

The Redwood Crescent site, on the western fringes of East Kilbride, was one of 14 acquired from the beleaguered supermarket.

Since then, LSI – which manages in excess of £600m of assets – has submitted eight detailed planning applications across Scotland and the company has confirmed a further two will be lodged within the next month. If approved, they will combine to provide more than 500,000 sq ft of new retail space.

Mr Wilson revealed that ten of the 14 acquired sites have potential for retail parks, with the remainder being residential. In addition to East Kilbride, there are sites in Paisley (Renfrew Road and Love Street), Crieff, Aviemore, Cupar, Cowdenbeath, Thurso, Dundee, Kilmarnock, Larkhall, Coatbridge, Dalkeith, and Glasgow.

Mr Wilson revealed that the company was already in advanced discussions with major UK retailers who are interested in occupying the East Kilbride development. “We hope to make announcements in the near future,” he said. “We’ve also had significant interest in the residential side from a number of housebuilders and should be able to announce a preferred developer very soon.”

LSI has also submitted a planning permission in principle application for 98 new residential properties on the site, which features a mix of flats and terraced, semi-detached and detached houses.

“The proposal, in our view, maximises the potential of the site as well as responding to the strong market interest being received,” said Mr Wilson.

In challenging economic times for retailers, particularly those in town centres, LSI’s investment reveals confidence in the retail sector. “This is a substantial development investment with the potential to create new jobs as well as new housing,” said Garry Clark from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. “It is good news that there appears to be confidence for retail investment here and, of course, building firms should benefit during the construction phase.”

The applications follow 12 weeks of consultation on the plans, including two public exhibition events which took place in January in the Bruce Hotel, East Kilbride.

Pauline Elliot, head of planning and economic development at South Lanarkshire Council, said: “A planning application for a mixed use development including retail and restaurant units, as well as a residential development has now been submitted to the council, however it has not been registered as a formal application as yet as the council is seeking additional information.”

Ms Elliot added that once the planning application has been registered, the statutory neighbour notification will take place, the application will be advertised in the local press and the plans will be available to view on the council’s planning portal.

Mr Clark added: “With extensive consultation already having taken place, we would hope for a swift planning decision to enable this ambitious development to commence.”

The company expects construction to commence in autumn 2016 with completion expected by late 2017.

SOURCE: Herald Scotland

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