PLANS for a £400million extension to Buchanan Galleries have been put on hold.

But the owners of the city centre shopping mall say they will go back to the drawing board in the hope of coming up with a new scheme to extend the popular shopping complex.

Developer Land Securities said in a statement: "We are not currently pursuing the existing plans for the extension of Buchanan Galleries, due to an increased level of risk generated by the simultaneous delivery of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

“As a long-term investor in Glasgow, we remain committed to owning and managing the existing successful Buchanan Galleries scheme and we retain our ambition to invest in improving the retail and leisure provision within the centre.

“We will continue to work on our plans to extend Buchanan Galleries, as Network Rail delivers EGIP over the next 18 months.”

The £742m EGIP is being delivered by Network Rail and includes modernisation and upgrades to key junctions and infrastructure as well as widespread electrification of the Scottish rail network, including the main line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Earlier this year, city councillors gave the final go-ahead to the the planned extension to Buchanan Galleries which would have involved the removal of the Concert Hall steps.

It had been hoped the new extension would be open by Christmas 2017 but that is now in doubt.

The scheme would have resulted in more than 100 shops, a 10 screen cinema, 25 restaurants and a new 1700 space car park next to Queen Street station.

The 1.2m sq ft of shopping, leisure and restaurant space were to be anchored by two major flagship stores - a new 150,000sq ft Marks & Spencer and a reconfigured 300,000sq ft John Lewis department store - creating an extra 1500 jobs.

But the extension resulted in more than 300 letters of objection and a petition with almost 13,000 signatures from objectors unhappy about the steps being scrapped and replaced with a dramatic glass atrium at the junction of Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street.

The extension to the shopping centre was to be built on the existing shopping mall car park.

It was planned a link bridge would take pedestrians from the mall to a new multi-storey car park at the side entrance of Queen Street station.

A new four storey rotunda with a rooftop restaurant and lift access to the Concert Hall was part of the original scheme along with a grand staircase.

A new gathering space was to be be created to the south of the rotunda with Caithness paving, seating and trees with the statue of Donald Dewar moved to the south of the new area, a few yards from its present location.

City council planning bosses said the scheme, with its location at the heart of the city centre, would be a vital boost and catalyst for other significant developments.

They believe a successful Buchanan Galleries shopping centre is key to helping cement the city's position as a major retail destination.

A council spokesman said: “Land Securities has assured us it is reconfiguring its plans to allow the expansion to progress, while Network Rail delivers the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Project.”