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Revitalising Shawlands Town Centre – collaborative development to enhance town centre living

Shawlands in Glasgow Southside supports a local catchment of over 44,000 people and a wider catchment of almost 200,000. The centre faced challenges due to long-term changes in the retail sector, the rise of internet shopping, and shifts in consumer habits. The construction of the M77 in the late 1990s diverted traffic away from the town centre, exacerbating the decline, along with new commercial attractions on the outskirts.

Shawlands in Glasgow Southside supports a local catchment of over 44,000 people and a wider catchment of almost 200,000. The centre faced challenges due to long-term changes in the retail sector, the rise of internet shopping, and shifts in consumer habits. The construction of the M77 in the late 1990s diverted traffic away from the town centre, exacerbating the decline, along with new commercial attractions on the outskirts.

Recognising the need to increase footfall in the area, Glasgow City Council, in partnership with Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council and Shawlands Business Improvement District (BID), initiated a collaborative effort to revitalise the area. This included forming cross-party sub-groups of elected members, business representatives, and community council members to understand and address the challenges.

The Shawlands Business Association was established in 2011, later transitioning to a BID in 2016. The Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan (TCAP), launched in May 2012, involved a £3.52 million investment over seven years, focusing on Economic Development, Place Management, Movement, and Urban Design.



Key initiatives to improve the area and drive greater footfall included:

  • The development of themed areas such as the Café/Restaurant Quarter
  • Shawlands Learning Quarter
  • Cultural Quarter
  • Professional Services Quarter
  •  Shawlands Arcade Project*
  •  public realm improvements
  • enhanced lighting for safety
  • shopfront renovations 
  •  the creation of a civic square as a focal point for the area.

*The regeneration of the Shawlands Arcade will begin in 2024, and it is expected to provide 600 residential units to facilitate town centre living and meet the housing needs of the area which has grown in popularity over the last few years, especially with young people.

Attracting Investment and Heritage Funding

The Council’s collaborative efforts, physical improvements, and media campaigns played a significant role in attracting private investment. High-profile awards and positive media coverage, including features in the Sunday Times and Time Out, showcased Shawlands’ transformation, boosting investor confidence in the area.

The project also leveraged investment from Clydebuilt and Ediston Real Estate. Early refurbishment efforts by New Shaws Housing Association supported the centre’s initial revitalisation, though collaborative opportunities with new developers could have been explored further in hindsight.

This case study highlights the comprehensive efforts and strategic planning involved in revitalising Shawlands Town Centre, offering valuable lessons and insights for similar projects aiming to attract private sector investment and enhance town centre living.