Hamilton is set for a £100million regeneration project, following similar masterplans to help East Kilbride and Glasgow city centre weather the storm of changing consumer habits.

The town will see 70% of its retail space cut to make way for up to 450 new homes, offices, active transport routes and leisure attractions including a new hotel.

The 'urban village' prototype aims to make town and city centres more attractive as a place to live.

South Lanarkshire Council said 38% of shop units are vacant in the Regent Street shopping centre, which will be demolished to create a mixed-use development with housing at the forefront.

The Herald:

The local authority said there is "simply too much retail space for the current provision to operate effectively".

Hamilton is not unusual in this regard.

Town centres lost more than 10,000 shops in 2023 – leaving a black hole at the heart of many communities.

The Herald: Hamilton town centre

The closures, which included big brands such as Wilko and Marks & Spencer, mean that 71,322 shops have shut down in just five years.

The total number of closures in 2023 was 10,494, which was an improvement on the record figure of more than 17,000, in 2022.

The Centre for Retail Research (CRR), which collated the figures, said this apparent improvement should be viewed as 'less bad' rather than 'good'.


Historic Scots town next in line for £100million regeneration plan 

Masterplan aims to future-proof Scotland's first new town

CRR director, Professor Joshua Bamfield, said: 'The cost of living crisis, inflation and increases in interest rates have led many consumers to tighten their belts, reducing retail spend."

Town centres have been crippled by out-of-town shopping centres and the rise in online shopping in recent years as well as higher business rates.

The pandemic and economic downturn led to major firms pulling out of projects that would help revitalise towns and cities.

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

The former Vogue Bingo site was due to be developed by Clyde Valley Housing Association (CVHA) for social housing. It has now opted for another site in the town.

British Independent Retailers Association chief executive Andrew Goodacre suggested that retailers should target older shoppers, as they favour town centres.