Renfrewshire’s future is bright, despite tough challenges facing all local economies, says Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.
More than £100million is currently being invested in Paisley town centre cultural venues as part of plans to use the region’s rich heritage to drive its economic regeneration.
And 2019 signals the start of construction of an advanced manufacturing innovation district next to Glasgow Airport which is set to bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the region.
“Every high street in every town and in every city is facing tough challenges, but we have a bold vision and are already taking significant steps towards securing Renfrewshire’s long-term economic future,” said Councillor Nicolson.
“This year will see us take the next steps on this exciting journey, working together with the business community and skills agencies as every organisation has an important part to play in delivering a bright economic future for Renfrewshire.”
Celebrating the region’s rich traditions – from weaving the paisley pattern to the iconic Paisley Abbey – and establishing Renfrewshire as a key visitor destination are at the centre of the regeneration plans.
New figures show great progress, with visitor numbers more than doubling to 5.3million between 2015 and 2017, while hosting major events attracted record numbers and ploughed £3.5million into the local economy this winter.
Paisley town centre cultural venues are about to undergo a total transformation – including the flagship project turning Paisley Museum into an international-class destination anticipated to attract 125,000 visitors each year.
There’s also been the launch of destination brand Paisley Is showcasing all the area has to offer and new funds rolled out to help grow the cultural sector, encouraging the sustainable growth of local arts, music and other creative organisations.
Alongside this are major infrastructure projects funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal, including the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, with construction starting in spring on new connections underpinning the site which has already been confirmed as home to two multi-million pound national innovation centres.
Councillor Nicolson added: “I’m immensely proud that Renfrewshire will once again be the beating heart of Scottish manufacturing, soon to be home to national innovation centres transforming the future of manufacturing and inspiring future generations.
“And as the town centre cultural venue work progresses, we are already seeing the positive impact of our focus on culture and tourism as visitor numbers have increased exponentially and events like Paisley’s Halloween Festival are proving immensely popular, drawing on our rich history and attracting large local, national and international audiences.”
Renfrewshire already boasts an employment rate outstripping its city region neighbours, while weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents exceed the national average.
And the council has committed a further £4.5million until 2022 to provide business support and help people into employment.
Building on the success of business incubator InCube, 2019 will see the launch of Start-Up Street – providing low cost workspaces helping companies make the leap into their first commercial premises.
Councillor Nicolson added: “We’ve committed long-term funding for business development and to help people find and sustain employment. Our focus is on inclusive growth, ensuring we target support to the people and places most in need so that we can make the greatest difference and improve the opportunities for future generations of Renfrewshire residents.
“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and it is our priority to make it a place people want to visit, live, work and invest in. The next year will see more houses built and we will continue to listen to what our communities tell us they want and need, ensuring everyone benefits as the economy grows.”