The man at the helm of the revamp of a crucial area of Glasgow's city centre has pledged that economic recovery can and will be achieved.

An extensive document detailing plans for the future of the so-called Golden Z - Sauchiehall, Buchanan and Argyle streets - will today go in front of councillors for approval before being released for public consultation.

Angus Millar, Convener for City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, spoke at the launch of a major new report, a Vision for the Golden Z, detailing plans on how the council will transform the beleaguered heart of Glasgow.

Changes in the retail and office sectors, exacerbated by the pandemic, have left the city's key shopping streets marked by empty properties and gap sites.

The council has long pledged to transform the city centre by increasing the number of people living in the city centre and the report details plans to build 1315 new homes.

Mr Millar said: "It's about recognising that retail has an important part to play in the future of the city centre but it's not going to have the same footfall as pre-pandemic.

"This report sets out a huge range of options and ideas to activate those sites and bring active use back to Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street.

"We are looking at repopulating the city centre and building 1315 homes in the area, we want to use the opportunities for the creative and cultural revitalisation of Sauchiehall Street and improve the public realm."

The future of the city centre has been a hot topic in Glasgow for a number of years, particularly following a series of devastating fire on and near Sauchiehall Street, including the two Glasgow School of Art blazes.

Mr Millar said that momentum is now at a peak and pledged that change will happen.

He added: "This exercise really helps keep a focus on these crucially important streets.

"The momentum is there, the level of interest and engagement we have had at our event today shows this is an issue that is not just top of the agenda for the council but something everyone in Glasgow has a real stake and a real energy in driving forward."

The launch event was attended by a number of local businesses, including a representative from Boots UK, which has four community pharmacies within the Golden Z.

He urged caution on overlooking the continuing importance of retail to the city centre.

The spokesperson said: "From our perspective we need to be very careful when talking about 'post-retail'. From our perspective we don't want to be post-retail, I want us to have a vibrant retail centre in Glasgow where everybody comes from the UK and that was always the case and I don't know why that deosn't still have to be the case "We are social animals and we see people coming in to the city to enjoy the nighttime economy but we are struggling to attract the same multi-national retailers who want to come and open sites here.

"Look at the centre of Edinburgh as an example. Glasgow is not able to get that. I'm all for independent retailers but you have to also have some of the big brands as well.

"On BIDS, we will always participate in BIDS but they have not always been successful and they generally cost us a lot of money and that's very difficult for us to justify when we don't see a return.

"We need to have an enjoyable night trade but when you're not seeing a return for your business that is very hard to justify."

In response, Mr Millar said Edinburgh had benefited from "huge investment" in its main shopping centre and pointed to the forthcoming redevelopments of the St Enoch Centre and Buchanan Galleries.

He said: "Glasgow has two major proposals that are quite similar coming down the line. Looking to redevelop and replace the outdated shopping mall of the 1980s with new vibrant, mixed use offering including retail, residential and food and drink.

"Glasgow does have these opportunities coming down the line but we also need to recognise we will not be able to get back to the retail footprint that existed in 2005/2006 - it's a different landscape, we've all changed our shopping habits."

A consultation was held with landowners, businesses, institutions, agencies, residents and visitors in how the Golden Z could be improved in the future.

The resulting report describes the Golden Z as a "wonderfully complex organism". It reads: "The Golden Z is the centre for a large metropolitan population and it needs to deliver on the promise that all city centres should – provide life enriching diversion and opportunity against an authentic backdrop, rich in heritage, culture and shared stories.

"It is a wonderfully complex organism with a breadth of activities and commerce that can complement and nurture one another."

One focus is on improving the urban realm by introducing more green space.

The report suggests St Enoch Square as a "high quality interactive public space" and makes comparisons with the newly completed Pound's Park in Sheffield City Centre, adding that it would have children's play areas and connect the city centre to the River Clyde.

Kevin Kane, Executive Director of Glasgow Economic Leadership, also responded to the plans for the city centre, suggesting the concept of the Golden Z is now outdated.

He said: "I feel that the Golden Z belongs to a period in time and I think I would rather talk to the fact we've got a Golden I with some wing bits that are flapping - Argyle Street is flapping more than Sauchiehall Street.

"Not everything has to be done on the Z. I think that thinking of the Z as the spine of Glasgow is the more useful way of thinking about it and thinking about the city centre in a wider perspective is better.

"Sauchiehall Street is the entrance from the west and Argyle Street is the entrance from the east but if you live on the south side you want to see the entrance from there - it's appalling."

He added: "The city centre's lanes are more important than you've given them credit for.

"We've got a jewel in Royal Exchange Square but it's tarnished; some of the other squares need to be brought back."

The project has been funded by the Scottish Government’s City Centre Recovery Fund and will be overseen by Glasgow’s City Centre Task Force, co-chaired by Mr Millar and Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.