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Paisley High Street to re-open in July

high street

Paisley’s pedestrianised High Street is to open to cars and taxis in the evenings and overnight from the end of July.

Renfrewshire Council has announced the start date for what is believed to be the first such pilot in Scotland.

The first car in almost 20 years will be allowed back into County Place, Gilmour Street and the High Street from 6.30pm – 6.30am.

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Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “It has been something of a long and winding road dating back to 2013 to be allowed to make this change with a public hearing followed by discussions with Scottish Ministers.

“But we have remained committed to our plan which has had strong support from local business. Now we have received confirmation from Transport Scotland and are looking forward to seeing the benefits in action.

“Improving vehicle access is a key part of our plans to bring people – whether residents or visitors – back into Paisley town centre to boost the developing night-time economy.

“Renfrewshire Council has made the regeneration of our traditional town centres one of our key priorities.

“There is widespread recognition that our innovative heritage-led regeneration strategy has the potential to transform Renfrewshire’s fortunes.

“There have already been some significant successes in our efforts to develop investment, jobs and tourism.

“People are coming back to live in Paisley town centre – for example, through the redevelopment of the iconic Arnotts building.

“Renfrewshire’s events strategy has attracted the Royal National Mòd and helped introduce The Spree comedy and music festival.

“Last year a Business Improvement District was agreed for Paisley. And only recently, the heritage-led regeneration plans for the town snapped up two awards at a prestigious UK-wide ceremony.

“Paisley is also bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021.

“There is a strong sense that Paisley is making progress and this change can help continue that positive change.”

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Paisley team delight as government ends City of Culture uncertainty

paisley

The team behind Scotland’s only bid for UK City of Culture 2021 are set to ‘sell Paisley to the world’ after the Government ended uncertainty over the contest.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport cast doubt over the process by running a consultation on the timetable – but today confirmed there will be no change to the planned bid deadline of April 2017.

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And the leader of Renfrewshire Council has expressed his delight at the news – which came just one day after he publicly called for clarity over the timetable.

The DCMS consultation was announced in December, prompted by concerns over the judging taking place in the same year as UK cities lodge bids to be a European Capital of Culture in 2023

But today’s announcement sees them stick with the status quo, having rejected alternative options of bringing the UK contest forward a year to 2016 to avoid a clash; or cancelling the UK 2021 contest altogether.

Paisley’s bid for the title is a key strand of wider plans being taken forward by the council to use culture and heritage to transform the area over the next decade.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “We are thrilled to hear the UK City of Culture 2021 contest is going ahead as planned, and are now looking forward to pulling together an outstanding bid.

“In our response to the consultation, we urged the DCMS to keep a level playing field for all entrants by sticking to the initial timetable.

“We asked them to look at the transformative and positive change UK City of Culture status would bring to places like Renfrewshire, and are pleased they listened to us.

“Paisley’s collection of cultural and heritage assets – including the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern and our one-time place at the heart of the world’s textile industry – is of international significance.

“We are already working on ambitious plans to retell the town’s story and sell Paisley to the world – and securing UK City of Culture status will turbocharge that effort.”

Paisley announced its intention to bid for UK City of Culture 2021 last year, and has already started to mobilise resources and support from the community.

This week saw the second of three fact-finding missions to the town from members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Local Economic and Employment Development programme, to discuss textiles, creative industries and innovation.

The Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy, launched by Renfrewshire Council in 2014, contains several signature projects, including plans to turn Paisley Museum into an international museum of costume and textiles.

Although Paisley does not currently have city status, the UK City of Culture competition allows entries from large towns and urban areas.