Ambitious proposals have been launched for a £15million regional sports village that will drive the ongoing transformation of Ferguslie Park in Paisley.
Renfrewshire Council, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), and St Mirren FC are in discussion to take forward the development which would feature a combination of facilities supporting elite sports programmes and community participation.
At the same time, the council is developing a proposal to develop a new landscaped town park on the site of the nearby St James’ playing fields.
Renfrewshire Council has already committed £7.5million of capital funding towards the joint cost of both proposals and believes that the projects could transform the North West area of Paisley.
Initial design proposals for the sports village will be developed over the coming months with local residents being given the chance to shape the design.
At this stage, the facilities being considered include pitches for football, hockey and rugby; a cycling track; an indoor sports facility; and a new sports physiotherapy centre.
It is hoped that the venue could be in place by 2020.
Representatives of the partner organisations involved joined local children at the Paisley 2021 stadium, home of St Mirren FC, to officially launch the plan.
Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader, Councillor Mike Holmes said: “We all know that Ferguslie has faced significant challenges over the years. I am proud of the positive changes that we are now seeing.
“This exciting proposal continues the wide-ranging efforts that are delivering meaningful change to people’s lives in this community.
“Renfrewshire Council has prioritised supporting people by investing in education, employment and regeneration.
“There have been lots of positive developments in Ferguslie in recent years, such as the success of the council’s Families First programme which is making sure all children in Ferguslie can get the best start in life.
“Building a 21st century regional sports venue will help to ensure that all our people and all our communities – including Ferguslie Park – can share in the regeneration of Renfrewshire.
“The Sports Village will be another step in unlocking the potential of Ferguslie Park. It will make the most of Ferguslie’s outstanding location though rail links and the close proximity to the motorway system – to establish what we hope will become a regional centre of sporting excellence and an inspiration to Ferguslie’s greatest assets – its people.
“Together with new builds for St Fergus’ Primary School and Mossvale St James and the redevelopment of the playing fields at St James into a new town park, we can regenerate a significant area of the north-west of Paisley just as momentum is building for the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.”
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS), said: “The University, which is at the heart of education, culture and business development in Paisley, has high strategic ambitions for all of its campuses.
“At UWS we are committed to delivering an outstanding student experience – both academically and in extracurricular activity such as sport. We are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council and St Mirren FC to explore the feasibility of a collectively owned and run sports village in Paisley.”
St Mirren FC will be another partner and St Mirren Chief Executive Tony Fitzpatrick said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Paisley and will not only benefit elite athletes, but will help to develop home grown talent as we work to realise the potential in all local young people.
“St Mirren is extremely proud to be a part of this important step forward in Paisley’s growth during an extremely exciting time for Paisley, as the town continues with its efforts to become UK City of Culture 2021.
Residents will be involved and help shape the development of the sports village.