The towering Cineworld cinema in Glasgow city centre stretches 203 feet  into the sky, making it the world's tallest.

It was constructed in 2001 on the former site of Green’s Playhouse, a cinema which also held a record, for the the largest number of seats for a cinema auditorium in Europe with a capacity of 4,368. 

Now, developers could face more scrutiny over the height of buildings under plans by Glasgow City Council.

The Herald: Cineworld in Glasgow city centre holds the record for the world's tallest cinemaCineworld in Glasgow city centre holds the record for the world's tallest cinema (Image: Newsquest)

The local authority is developing new planning guidance for tall buildings in the city centre, which will guide decisions on their design and location.

A number of buildings that fit the criteria are currently either being constructed, have planning consent or are proposed.

They include a 17-storey aparthotel on the corner of Cambridge Street and Renfrew Street, behind the old Littlewoods store, which is currently occupied by a derelict building. 

The multi-million-pound development which will transform part of Glasgow’s skyline has been given the green light.  

Developers say the aparthotel, which would be visible across the city, “will support the economy of the city and its strong tourist industry” and bring people into Glasgow’s premier shopping area.   

Plans have also been approved for a £300million development, which will see homes, offices, hotels, restaurants and a new public square delivered in the Candleriggs area of the city.

The Herald: A £300million development is planned in the Merchant City Image: Drum Property GroupA £300million development is planned in the Merchant City Image: Drum Property Group (Image: Agency)

The tallest buildings are indicated to be 15 and 16 storeys and are focused around the new urban square within the site, away from the existing streets.

READ MORE: Plans approved for 17-storey aparthotel in Glasgow city centre 

More applications for tall buildings are expected in future years as demand for housing and other uses in the city centre grows. 

The council said in addition, the repurposing of existing city centre buildings will in some cases necessitate additional height to create more floor space.

Opposing views are held on tall buildings, with supporters promoting their benefits in terms of increasing density, reducing urban sprawl and offering opportunities for refurbishment and re-use, and others suggesting they are unsustainable due to their consumption of energy and resources.

The council said the new guidance aims to ensure that the appropriate development of tall buildings in Glasgow city centre - "designed and built with care and innovation and complemented by low and medium-impact development" - make the area more liveable, sustainable and diverse as it grows. 

The work to develop this guidance will look at the experience of other cities; examine the topography of the city centre to assess which areas would be most affected by tall buildings; and consider how such buildings contribute to an urban planning strategy that balances economic, environmental, social and cultural aspects.

READ MORE: Former Marks and Spencer store will be transformed into student accommodation 

Council officers held a special meeting of the Glasgow Design Panel - with architects, designers, developers and civic and heritage bodies in attendance - to consider the topic as part of the work on the guidance.

Public consultation on tall building planning guidance will begin in Spring 2024.

A tall building is defined as a building (including roof top structures and masts) that significantly exceeds general building heights in the immediate vicinity and which alters the skyline.

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Development and Land Use at Glasgow City Council, said: “New planning guidance for tall buildings in Glasgow city centre will help achieve our aims of re-populating and re-densifying the city centre in a sustainable way. 

"When complete, the guidance will ensure that tall buildings meet design standards and are located only in places that are appropriate to their local setting.”