Paisley winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title would be good news for the whole Glasgow region, according to key cultural and business figures from the city.
The Renfrewshire town was last week named as the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the prestigious title, run by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Paisley’s bid is part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural offer.
And with bid bosses forecasting an economic bonanza worth hundreds of millions, and 1.7m event attendances for Paisley’s potential 2021 year, the benefits would be spread throughout the city region.
Should Paisley win the 2021 title, it would be the latest in a line of major events for the Glasgow area, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 European Championships.
Jill Miller OBE, director of cultural services at Glasgow Life, said: “We are delighted Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 has reached the shortlist.
“The bid is already of extraordinary quality and will continue to bring huge economic and cultural benefits to Paisley and to surrounding areas, especially Glasgow.
“The bold, innovative and exciting Paisley 2021 offer is a compelling mix of its existing cultural assets and brilliant new work and is proudly carrying the hopes of the whole country with it.”
The bid has also been backed by Glasgow Airport – which sits within Paisley’s boundaries – and links the town with 120 destinations worldwide.
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Huge congratulations must go to the 2021 bid team and the people of Paisley for their efforts in ensuring the town made the shortlist. What a fantastic achievement.
“Securing UK City of Culture status in 2021 would provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really showcase this iconic Scottish town’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
“Everyone at Glasgow Airport remains firmly behind the bid, and as Scotland’s only remaining contender it is important the entire country backs Paisley in the months ahead.”
It is estimated Paisley’s 2021 year could bring a £172m economic boost and create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.
Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull have seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight.
Paisley is joined on the shortlist by Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.
Councillor Iain Nicolson, chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board, added: “We are delighted with the support we have had over the past week from our partners in Glasgow and beyond…we are now Scotland’s bid.
“Our excellent transport links make us easy to reach – we have Scotland’s fourth-busiest rail station and an international airport, and there are 2.6 million people within a one-hour drive of Paisley.
“While winning the 2021 title would transform the future of Paisley and Renfrewshire, there is a recognition it would also be very good for the wider region too.
“Those benefits would be economic – through the number of visitors – but also social and cultural, with opportunities for people to come to Paisley to enjoy a programme of world-class artists.”
For more information, see paisley2021.co.uk