The first images showing how a vacant former retail unit at the heart of Paisley’s High Street will be turned into a 21st-century community facility housing library services are today revealed.
Construction will start soon on the £7m Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub – a new modern community and educational facility which will bring new footfall to the town centre.
When it opens in summer 2021, the building will provide a new digitally-connected home for a range of services, including those currently offered at Paisley Central Library.
As the images released today show, that will include:
– a comprehensive internal remodelling of the existing building, over four floors;
– an attractive ground-and-first-floor frontage with a modern look – which complements the High Street surroundings and preserves the historic features on the building’s upper floors;
– children’s library with areas for areas for reading, play, storytelling and learning;
– IT areas and suite – offering free public digital access in the heart of the town centre
The new facility is the latest example of how Renfrewshire Council is helping repopulate the town’s High Street by finding new cultural and community uses for vacant retail property.
It follows Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High St museum store –which opened two years ago in the basement of the town’s former Littlewoods store.
The four-floor unit at 22a High Street which will house the learning and cultural hub was last occupied by clothing chain Internacionale – but has been empty for a decade.
The work is part of a wider investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces which will see Paisley Museum transformed into a world-class home for the town’s internationally-significant collections, and Paisley Town Hall kept at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue.
The project includes £1.5m funding from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and is being delivered on behalf of the council by hub West Scotland who have appointed Collective Architecture to create the new design and main contractor CCG to deliver the refurbishment.
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which will operate the facility, said: “We are delighted to be able to reveal these images, which show a modern and accessible community resource for people of all ages to learn and be inspired.
“We are putting the power of culture to change lives at the heart of everything we do – so putting a building offering library services at the heart of Paisley High Street is a bold statement of intent.
“The Learning and Cultural Hub will bring back into use a building which had been empty for some time, and had been allowed to deteriorate by previous owners.
“The future for Paisley town centre is in finding new ways to repopulate vacant retail units with cultural, leisure and community uses which will give people a reason to come into the town centre.
“As well as hosting library services, it will be able to host events and book readings – helping bring footfall into the High Street and supporting surrounding businesses.”
Iain Marley, hub West’s CEO said: “We are delighted to partner with Renfrewshire Council and lead the delivery of this very important project.
“The council has a very clear and powerful vision for the role the Learning and Cultural Hub will play in the rejuvenation of the High Street and the benefits that the investment that it will bring for residents and visitors.
“We are proud to help make this vision a reality and ensure the project maximises employment, training and other opportunities for local communities and businesses.”
Paisley Central Library is currently operating from a temporary building next to the Lagoon Leisure Centre, having moved from its former home next to Paisley Museum in 2018.
Renfrewshire Heritage Library remains open at Abbey Mill and will move into the museum when it reopens in 2022.
The former Paisley Central Library building at the top of the High Street will form part of the expanded Paisley Museum when it reopens in 2022.
For more information see www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisley