A MAJOR development bringing a multi-million pound leisure and entertainment hub to East Kilbride has taken a step forward.


Bosses at EK East Kilbride shopping centre say the Olympia Arcade will be closed off in preparation for work on the wider leisure development.

The announcement came as mall chiefs confirmed the arrival of 24 hour fitness facility Pure Gym, which is planning to open in the shopping centre.

The gym will form part of the 70,000 sq ft leisure scheme which will also include 10 new food and drink units alongside the existing ice rink and nine-screen Odeon Cinema.

Work has already started to convert the old H&M unit and it is anticipated Pure Gym will be up and running at EK in the next few months.

Ian McLelland, Centre Director at EK East Kilbride, said: "I am delighted to confirm that work is about to start to create a high quality, exciting new leisure hub at EK.

"Over the next few weeks a programme of preparatory activity will begin with major works scheduled to start this summer.

"We expect the new leisure hub to be fully open for business in late 2016.

"I am also pleased to announce that Pure Gym is heading to EK as part of the leisure development.

"The fitness chain is a leader in in its field, with outlets across the UK, and I have no doubt it will be a huge success at EK East Kilbride.

"We are also in advanced discussions with a number of new restaurant operators and we hope to be able to confirm some more names in the coming weeks."

EK, which is owned by Orion, is Scotland's largest undercover shopping centre.

It has more than 150 outlets featuring a mix of small independents and high street favourites, including Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Boots and French Connection.

The centre has undergone a huge transformation over the past few years with an extensive refurbishment programme.

While the Olympia will be the leisure and entertainment zone, Centre West has become a thriving high street and fashion hub.

Plaza Square has also been redeveloped, including re-tiling, installation of new modern seating and stands, and lighting.

Politicians have welcomed the regeneration.

Alice Michell, Labour councillor for East Kilbride Central North, said: "I think any regeneration would be welcome to get the town centre back to what it was.

"Within the last five to 10 years it's gone downhill. But then the economic climate hasn't been good.

"There seems to be a lot going on at the centre just now and it looks very interesting.

"I think the owners are trying their best to bring in retailers."

Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP for East Kilbride said: "The regeneration will bring with it much needed jobs and will ensure East Kilbride competes with out of town shopping centres.

"Despite the tough economic climate over the past couple of years, the town centre management deserve recognition for staying focused and attracting some big names to the town.

"It's been difficult because there's not always a full understanding of what they are trying to achieve. East Kilbride Shopping Centre has a bright future ahead of it, and I am really pleased that my own office sits right in the middle."

Mr McLelland added: "There is no doubt retail conditions continue to be challenging across the UK, however, we are continuing to push forward our development plans that will ensure EK East Kilbride maintains its position as one of the country's leading retail and leisure destinations."