The last couple of times we’ve gone into Glasgow on a Saturday, we’ve noticed how Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street have been half empty. We were wondering whether it had anything to do with the recession.
However, the Silverburn shopping centre was so crowded that the cars were almost blocking the motorway exit.
So it’s the combination of more and more expensive parking charges in central Glasgow and more and bigger shopping centres surrounding the city that is finally taking its toll.
It was probably not obvious during the boom years when there were enough consumers for both, but now people are having to make a choice, and they’re opting for the shopping centres.
It’s made worse by hospitals and other organisations leaving the city centre, too.
It’s really dangerous. If the trend is not reversed soon, we’ll end up with cities without centres, a bit like Los Angeles.
It’s important to make the city centre the centre of the conurbation, placing all the important institutions there, and to provide plenty of cheap parking spaces in the centre.
Of course shopping centres have a role to play, but if they start taking over as the primary shopping location, it’s time to change track.