[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Paisley town centre is in the running for a multi-million-pound transformation after the council cleared the first hurdle on a bid for major investment funding.
Renfrewshire Council has been awarded £113,300 of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money to develop detailed plans for a large-scale project to restore some of the area’s architectural treasures to their former glory.
Almost £2m of HLF money – the joint biggest of 13 awards announced today around the UK – has been set aside should the plans be given the green light.
And the total value of the scheme could rise to around £4m, including a council contribution and money from other funding sources.
The scheme is part of an ongoing ambitious drive to use Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to lead a transformation of the town over the next decade.
The initial £113,300 will be used for detailed feasibility work on the longer-term plans, and will include repairs to the B-listed walls in Dunn Square.
It is hoped the full project will run until 2021 and will see the extensive restoration of historic buildings which have fallen into disrepair, with priority projects having already been identified on the High Street and in the area around Shuttle Street.
It will also include a series of community engagement events to encourage residents to celebrate Paisley’s rich textile and built heritage in preparation for the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.
The project will build on the existing £3.5m Townscape Heritage Initiative/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in the town’s Causeyside area, which has seen public realm improvements and the restoration of shopfronts and other historic buildings, funded by the council, HLF and Historic Scotland.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We welcome this funding, which will give us a platform from which we can deliver on one of the key strands of our ambitious town centre heritage strategy – now gathering momentum.
“Paisley has an architectural heritage worth celebrating, and this money will go a long way towards keeping some of the finest examples of that alive for future generations to enjoy.
“The preservation of that heritage is a central part of a regeneration journey which we hope will build on the town’s existing strengths and turn it into a vibrant international cultural destination over the next decade.
“Part of that is in helping to increasing the Paisley public’s awareness and appreciation of the stunning built heritage which surrounds them, which will be a key feature of this project.
“It will also bring economic spin-offs by bringing town centre buildings back into use, thus opening up opportunities for retail and the night-time economy.
“And this is just the latest bit of good news for the town centre, with 2015 having already brought the start of retail and housing development in the listed frontage of the former Arnotts store, and confirmation of the deal to save the Russell Institute and create 80 new office jobs.”
The latest development funding is from HLF’s Townscape Heritage fund, which has allowed the organisation to target £93million of funding into more than 50 communities across Scotland
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:
“The regeneration of town centres is an obvious way in which we as an organisation can make an important contribution to improving the economy of an area and the standard of living for the people resident there,.
“Investing lottery money to revitalise historic buildings at the heart of a community, not only makes a place more attractive to live, visit and invest in, it also provides jobs and training opportunities for local people.
“We are delighted to make this award to Paisley as part of our ongoing commitment to preserving Scotland’s heritage in a way in which is relevant to the needs of today.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]