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Council Leader’s community call over regeneration plans

Paisley Abbey

Council Leader’s community call over regeneration plans.

The council unveiled proposals in January for a multi-million pound investment in Paisley’s infrastructure to kickstart heritage-led regeneration and boost the town’s tourist economy.

The hope is this would lead to a bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021 – and Councillor Mark Macmillan wants local groups to help shape that bid.

Council staff have already started to meet local business and community interests to explain the detail behind the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy.

Paisley Abbey

It is thought the existing Paisley Vision Board – a public-private group aimed at boosting town centre trade – could evolve into a wider body which better fits the scope of the council’s proposals.

Cllr Macmillan said: “The next few years are going to be hugely exciting for Renfrewshire as we aim to lead a multi-million-pound investment in our tourist potential and a possible UK City of Culture bid.

“The Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy is a bold statement of where we want the area to be – but for us to reach our potential we will need to work in partnership with a wide range of groups who also stand to benefit.

“That will require contributions from a range of people – from public-sector bodies to business leaders to cultural groups to residents and everyone in between, as we look to transform perceptions of Paisley at home and abroad.

“The Paisley Vision Board has served the town well over the years and led the way on many worthwhile projects – but as we widen our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire, we have to widen the scope of who we work in partnership with.

“Over the months ahead I want us to harness the talents of all interested parties and give them the chance to help us transform Paisley’s future for the better.”

Tom Johnston, president of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The plans being taken forward to regenerate Paisley are far-reaching and unique.

“The local business community stands to benefit from these proposals and I would encourage them to get on board and help shape the transformation.”

The Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy was commissioned by the council to assess how the town’s rich history and culture could be used to drive tourist-led regeneration.

The report describes Paisley’s heritage – including more than 100 listed buildings, rare books and paintings, and the finest Paisley Shawl collection in the world – as being of ‘international interest and significance’.

It is estimated the developments proposed by the strategy could increase Renfrewshire’s tourist economy by £45m a year, and create around 800 new jobs for the area.

Key recommendations include a multi-million-pound revamp of Paisley Museum, possible new theatre space in the town, and work to investigate whether Paisley could receive UNESCO World Heritage Status, as well as the possible City of Culture bid.

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