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Multi-million-pound Paisley Transformation plans officially launched

Ambitious plans to use Paisley’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage assets to turn the town into one of the key destinations on Scotland’s tourist map were officially launched today in the town.

Key figures from the local community and national cultural scene heard how multi-million-pound regeneration proposals to transform the town over the next decade will be brought to life.

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It is thought the plans could create 800 jobs and be worth an extra £45m a year to the local economy – and if successful they could lead to a bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021.

The launch of Paisley: The Untold Story saw several hundred people gather in the spectacular Thomas Coats Memorial Church to hear speeches and theatrical and musical performances.

The steps of the church – known as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe – were dressed with 30 vibrantly-coloured handmade trees on which almost 1,000 ‘wishes for Paisley’ written by local schoolchildren were attached.

Meanwhile, members of the local PACE youth theatre group – the largest in the UK – formed a Paisley Pattern shape, the globally-recognised symbol of the town’s textile industry.

The event, hosted by Paisley-born TV star Tom Urie, saw speeches from Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, author and one-time local writer-in-residence Ajay Close, Creative Scotland’s Director of Strategy Philip Deverell, and PACE Theatre Group director David Wallace.

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The proposals contained within the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy, approved by local councillors earlier this year, would use the town’s outstanding cultural, architectural and industrial heritage as the basis for a wide-ranging programme of regeneration to benefit all of Renfrewshire.

Plans include the refurbishment of Paisley Museum to become a national museum of textile and costume, the building of a Paisley fashion and design centre on the town’s High Street and a study into a new theatre space.

The infrastructure projects would take place alongside an expansion of the area’s existing cultural and events programme, which last year saw Paisley host the Royal National Mòd for the first time.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “It is no exaggeration to say this launch could mark a turning point in the recent history of the area, leading to lasting positive change for all of Renfrewshire.

“Paisley has a wealth of assets to be proud of – the second-highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland, our historic place at the heart of the global textile industry, and our thriving events, arts and cultural scene to name just three.

“Those assets will be used as the engine to drive regeneration throughout the whole area – and all of Renfrewshire will share in the economic benefits.

“But what we are aiming at is bigger than anything the council could do by itself. Paisley’s biggest asset is its people – and this process will be led by them, for them.

“When the Paisley Pattern was invented, the town was known the world over. We are ready to tell the town’s story to the world again and to bring the world to Paisley.”

Copies of the full strategy can be downloaded from www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyuntold[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][vc_gallery ids=”21732,21733,21734,21735,21736,21737,21738″ type=”masonry”][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]