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.
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.