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Boost for Paisley town centre

The launch of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme is the latest initiative aimed at revitalising Paisley town centre.

L – R – Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mike Holmes, Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council

The scheme is now open to receive grant applications to improve Paisley’s built environment following the launch of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme. The £4million project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will be delivered over the next five years.

The programme aims to make the area around the High Street a more attractive place to visit and invest while highlighting the significant role Paisley has played in the weaving and textile industry.

Through the scheme building owners are able to apply for grant funding to invest in building repairs and shopfront improvements with a view to creating a high quality environment which will increase business interest and reduce the number of vacant properties in the area, while the money will also fund a programme of community activity designed to complement Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Mike Holmes, who was present at the launch said: “Paisley boasts an impressive built heritage only surpassed by Edinburgh. By investing in our built environment we will encourage more visitors and businesses to the area which will in turn increase footfall on the High Street and reduce the number of vacant properties.

“Through the scheme we, along with the support of HLF and HES, want to help building owners repair and improve their premises to help increase business interest. I would encourage building owners to find out more about the grant funding offered through this project and what the potential business benefits are likely to be.”

The launch of the scheme builds on the success of the initial £3.5m THI/CARS scheme which transformed the area around Causeyside Street including shopfront repair grants, public realm improvements and a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre.

Jim Peacock from Phelps Butchers benefited from funding during the initial THI/CARS initiative which covered improvements to the shop front and helped with the installation of a new roof. He believes it offers great a support opportunity for local businesses.

He said: “The funding we received helped make our shop front more attractive to customers by giving it a more traditional feel and you can see a real difference in the area as a result.

“Paisley is a great, historic town and it’s nice to see the local shops and buildings reflect that to help the town look better and more appealing to people.

“It was a no brainer for us to apply for the funding and we’ve really seen the benefit. I’d encourage others to jump on board and apply for the funding – improvements like these can only be a good thing for the town and for local businesses.”

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Scotland, said: “This latest round of £1.8 million of National Lottery funding into Paisley will bring a real economic boost as well as restoring community pride into this important Renfrewshire town. The project will breathe new life into the centre making it a better place to live and work through the refurbishment of key historic buildings and the surrounding area.

“Sitting alongside physical regeneration there will also be real benefits for local people including training in traditional skills and a chance to learn more about the town’s fascinating industrial past including its world famous textiles.

“The National Lottery has invested £7m National Lottery into Paisley’s heritage allowing the town to reinvigorate its historic past making it a more vibrant place for the people who call this town home today.”

Michael Easson, Project Manager for HES, said: “We first awarded grant funding to Paisley through our Conservation Area Regeneration scheme in 2009, and since then the programme has played a significant role in supporting investment through heritage-led regeneration.

“The revitalisation of Paisley’s historic town centre is a great example of what can be achieved, with a number of historic buildings already back in use thanks to the funding. We’re looking forward to seeing even more regeneration work for the built environment in Paisley, and the benefits this will bring to the local community.”

A number of other projects have been implemented aimed at driving people back into the town centre including the relocation of Paisley Central Library to a vacant building on the High Street and plans for a £49million revamp to Paisley Museum. These projects are collectively expected to attract more than 250,000 people to the High Street each year.

To find out more about the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme please visit:www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/thcars2

For more information on the Council’s wider regeneration plans please visit: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisley.