A historic Scots town is in line for a multi-million pound regeneration project which will cut retail space by up to 70%.

South Lanarkshire Council has developed a masterplan for Hamilton town centre which will create up to 450 new homes and follows a similar "urban village" design being progressed for East Kilbride and Glasgow city centre.

Six key sites will be transformed by high-quality mixed-use developments "which the residents of Hamilton can be proud of" and funded with a mixture of private and public investment.

Regent Street shopping centre, which has a vacancy rate of 38%, will be demolished to create a mixed-use development with housing at the forefront.

The Herald:

The council said some buildings may need to be demolished, but the option to retrofit others, such as the former Marks and Spencer building to provide office space, will be explored. 

Options for the former Bairds building include demolition or redevelopment as well as ‘meanwhile uses’ such as an event and market space.

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The building was purchased by Wetherspoons in early 2020 but the company has confirmed they no longer intend to proceed with plans for a pub in the town.

The current Duke Street car park site will be turned into a hotel or student flats and an active travel corridor to the station is also proposed. While some parking forms part of the plan, the council said "people will be prioritised over cars".

The masterplan, which is being led by Threesixty Architecture, also proposes that New Cross Shopping Centre would be transformed into a residential-led redevelopment.

Its previous owners went into liquidation in 2021 which resulted in the centre being handed back to the council.

The Herald: Hamilton masterplan

The council said residential units could also extend to site occupied by Hamilton Police HQ. Police Scotland has indicated that it may leave the premises.

The former Vogue Bingo site could be repurposed into a flexible multipurpose building, while retaining the building façade.


This building was due to be developed by Clyde Valley Housing Association (CVHA) for social housing. It has chosen another site in the town.

Approximately 20% of new homes will be earmarked for social housing and the council has said every effort would be made to relocate existing tenants within the town.

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Hamilton Town Square is described as a "vast under-utilised" space and there are plans for commercial pods here.

Hamilton has a population of around 55,000, which makes it the 9th largest locality in Scotland.

It was ranked 48th out of 200 centres within the UK (1 being the lowest and 200 being the highest) for overall retail performance.

The council says this is skewed by the strength of the out-of-town provision and there is "simply too much retail space for the current provision to operate effectively".

Joe Fagan, Council Leader, said: “This is a bold and exciting proposal that would totally transform the look and atmosphere of Hamilton town centre.

“There is of course still a long way to go, and we want to hear what local residents think of these initial proposals.

"There will be consultations around the wider and specific parts of the proposals and these will be widely publicised to give as many people as possible the chance to put forward their views.

“The development of the masterplan is a unique opportunity to deliver transformational change to the town centre.

“This approach is consistent with that being proposed across the country and I believe it is key to revitalising the whole town centre area.”

The town of Hamilton was originally known as Cadzow or Cadyou and dates back to the days of Strathclyde, or perhaps earlier.

It was renamed Hamilton in the time of James, Lord Hamilton, who was married to Princess Mary, the daughter of King James II.

The family constructed many landmark buildings in the area including the Hamilton Mausoleum in Strathclyde Park and Hamilton Palace was the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton until the early-twentieth century.

Other historic buildings in the area include Hamilton Old Parish Church, a Georgian era building completed in 1734 and the only church to have been built by William Adam.

The masterplan will be discussed at the next meeting of the council’s Executive Committee on Wednesday, February 21.