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East Kilbride shopping centre into housing development plan approved

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Councillors on the community and enterprise resources committee this week approved plans for the local authority to take ownership of Centre West Shopping Centre in the town due to years of significant decline leading to a third of the units in the facility being vacant. 

East Kilbride shopping centre is split in ownership. Centre West is owned by Sapphire 15 and the rest of the centre is owned by Sapphire 16 – this section of the facility will be marketed for sale over the coming months. 

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The council plans to turn the centre into a new neighbourhood in the heart of the town, and this follows public consultation which identified residential development as the preferred use of the site. This will also form part of the wider East Kilbride Master Plan.

Plans to demolish Centre West to make way for the housing development have been put in place with proposals to also develop a ‘Civic Hub’ at the site.

The existing owners are expecting a legal agreement to facilitate this as early as summer, with the transfer of ownership taking place between December 2025 and January 2026.

Once ownership is transferred to the council, site demolition will be progressed quickly, this is due to ongoing maintenance costs, empty property rates, liabilities, security costs and the loss of ground rent. 

Councillor John Anderson (East Kilbride Central South), questioned the nature of the housing development.

He said: “Regarding the residential neighbourhood that has been identified, can you confirm if these houses will be council houses, or will you be selling the land off for private housing? This is an ideal opportunity for the council to build these as council houses and help reduce the lengthy waiting list that is in EK for housing.”

Council officers confirmed that there will be space for around 300 to 400 units, but the route for housing is still under consideration. The council is looking to retain 20 to 25 per cent for social housing but plans on delivery options have not been confirmed yet.

Councillor David Watson (East Kilbride West) asked about the costs of securing the unit.

He said: “I’m assuming that we’re liable for these maintenance costs, empty property rates and security costs, but that moves on to the next step, timescales and the suggestion is this can’t be or won’t be concluded until December 2025 and January 2026 – what are the expected costs within that timescale to the council. I’m assuming we can’t do anything until that’s concluded in December 2025/January 2026 and that could probably go on longer than that, but is there an opportunity and willingness of both parties that can be brought forward?”

Council officials stated that the timeline is pushed out to ensure that professional teams are in place and shops are relocated before ownership is transferred.

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