A major national retailer is finalising plans to open in Paisley High Street boosting the regeneration of the town centre.
Wilkinson, which has over 330 stores in the UK, is close to reaching agreement to occupy the former Littlewoods store.
Renfrewshire Council and Paisley Vision Board have been working hard to secure the redevelopment of the site which has lain vacant since 2005 and believe a new store could be open within a few months.
Among the benefits of the proposed deal would be:
the creation of an estimated 85 jobs
the reopening of one of the most prominent shopfronts on Paisley High Street
additional access for shoppers to the units in the Paisley Centre,
the enhancement of Paisley’s appeal to shoppers and other potential new retailers, and
a boost to public finances through non-domestic rates revenue of £145,000 per annum.
“To have such a key retail site in Paisley High Street occupied again would be a major vote of confidence in Paisley’s future,” said Renfrewshire Council Leader Derek Mackay, who also chairs Paisley Vision Board.
“The redevelopment would be further proof of the continuing regeneration of Paisley.
“In recent years Renfrewshire Council and our partners prioritised three key projects which would significantly boost Paisley’s appeal as a place to live and do business in.
“The first – the redevelopment of part of the former council hq in Cotton Street for housing – is well underway.
“The second goal – the revival of the iconic Arnott’s site – has seen the creation of an innovative public private partnership to make the site ready for development and attract residential and commercial development.
“What a hat-trick it would be for Paisley if we can help restore the Littlewood’s site in the middle of the high street to its former prominence.”
Tom Johnston, President of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said: “It’s particularly encouraging that it would be a major national retailer which would be coming to Paisley.
“Having that level of support for Paisley as a strong retail centre can act as a catalyst for the broader regeneration of the town centre as well as its retail sector.”
A meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Development Board on Tuesday December 07 will consider a report recommending that the Council supports the deal through an investment of up to £336,000.
The money would help towards the £1.5m plus cost of refitting the store which has a large, complex layout and has lain empty for six years. Council funds would only be awarded if the deal is concluded.
The cost of preparatory works in the vacant store followed by a refit is expected to total £2.5m
Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Town Centre Action Plan has already identified the need to support the upgrading of property assets to boost retail development.