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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 April 2006, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
New town could get 400m facelift
An aerial shot of the area to be redeveloped

A 400m redevelopment of East Kilbride town centre has been given the go-ahead by South Lanarkshire Council.

The plan would demolish some existing buildings to create a new civic centre, a state-of-the-art health centre, a library and shopping facilities.

It would also see a "landmark" arts and culture complex with a 1,000-seat theatre, a 500-seat conference centre, a museum and a new town square.

Council leader Eddie McAvoy said it would make "the new town a boom town".

Cutting edge

The town already has Scotland's largest covered shopping mall, but the plan has more department stores, modern double height retail unit layouts for larger tenants and a restaurant hub around the ice rink to create a new evening destination.

Parking spaces in the town centre would increase from 3,000 to 8,700 spaces.

Mr McAvoy said: "It will benefit our whole economy and ensure that East Kilbride stays at the cutting edge of quality shopping well into the new century."

However, he added that there was more to the redevelopment than shopping.

"It's about local identity, it's about regeneration and above all it's about improving quality of life.

"The scheme we have approved in principle will develop a more cohesive longer-term vision for East Kilbride."

Artist's impression of the new civic centre  incorporating a health centre  showing the proposed entrance to the new Town Square.
Artist's impression of the new civic centre and health centre.

The announcement comes after a year of talks between South Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Retail Property Limited Partnership (SRPLP), a joint venture between Land Securities and British Land.

The first stage of the plan could start later this year, with completion of the major elements in 2012/2013.

It is hoped the project - the various phases of which will require full planning permission - will create up to 3,000 temporary jobs over the 10-year construction programme and 2,000 permanent jobs.

The new civic and health facilities would be created at the site currently occupied by Plaza Tower, which would be demolished, with the theatre and arts facilities being created at the adjoining Olympia Centre.

The current civic centre and the adjoining Hunter Health Centre would be demolished to make way for the first phase of development, which would include a major food retail store.

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