ONGOING delays to the revamp of one of Scotland’s biggest railway stations have thrown into jeopardy latest plans for a £400m city centre retail and leisure development.

A flurry of meetings have been held in recent days between ministers, transport officials, business groups and the owners of Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries amid concerns over the economic and financial impact of the already over-running Queen Street redevelopment.

The rail scheme was due to get underway last July but remains caught up in major contractual and legal wrangling before the green light can be given for work to begin.

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Galleries owners Land Securities had previously put the brakes on its long-discussed expansion in 2015 when it was unable to agree how to coordinate its works with those at the adjoining station and insiders claim the latest timetable risks also being paralysed by Queen Street hold-ups.

Now business leaders have raised concerns that, with Glasgow’s retail environment rapidly changing and under threat from out-of-town malls, the city centre economy and vibrancy will take a massive blow if the new seven-year plan for the landmark shopping centre are not delivered.

One said: “The city centre is suffering from your Silverburns and Forts where shopping is part of an overall leisure experience with cinemas and dining. Buchanan Galleries is 20 years old, a bit down at heel and needs to change what it offers to compete. Retailers are conservative, they go where the footfall is and the city centre can’t afford for that to drain further.”

Both projects, which will be physically connected when complete, were initially scheduled to run in tandem. But the complexity of the engineering works on the Queen Street Tunnel meant this was too risky.

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The Herald understands that in the intervening period there has been speculation in transport and political circles that Land Securities was preparing to cut its losses and abandon the scheme.

However the property firm has rescheduled its plans, with a £100m first phase planned understood to be ready to commence on a gap site on Buchanan Street and including a revival of controversial plans for the steps at the Royal Concert Hall. A second phase, understood to include plans for a relocation of Marks and Spencer from elsewhere in the city, would start once Queen Street was complete.

But the required Government authorisations, knows as TAWS orders, are currently up to nine months delayed, impacting on the Galleries’ project.

A draft has been concluded in recent days but the impact on timescales is still unclear.

One source said already the changes to the 2015 timetables means there is unlikely to be any major retail offering within the completed Queen Street for several years due to second phase of the shopping centre works, adding: “Queen Street will probably be a big empty glass box until about 2025.”

Land Securities director Nick Davis said: “We put on hold our plans to extend because of a conflict between our development programme and rail improvement works at the adjacent Queen Street station. Whilst these works progress we are continuing to work on our plans to improve the retail, leisure and food offer at the centre.”

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A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The redevelopment of Queen Street station continues to make progress with some advance works already underway. A further package of enabling works was authorised in December. The Transport Minister had a positive meeting with Land Securities and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce last week where they re-affirmed their commitment to continue to invest in the city.”