The ongoing drive to regenerate Paisley town centre will be boosted through a new partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the group hoping to bring a new cinema to the town.
Paisley Community Trust (PCT) are taking forward plans for a new cinema on Paisley High Street as part of their wider aim of delivering community-driven economic regeneration of the town.
And the trust has now signed a strategic partnership agreement with the council to formalise the commitment of both parties to work together.
A strategic partnership acts as statement of intent, strengthening the links and communication between two groups.
The council has already piloted this approach elsewhere in Renfrewshire, and last week councillors gave approval to sign a similar agreement with Active Communities, who are building a new community hub in the former police station in Johnstone.
The PCT are evolving their plans for a community-focused cinema in the heart of the town centre, and with funding from Renfrewshire Council and Regional Screen Scotland, are shortlisting suitable sites and carrying out initial feasibility studies to explore their potential.
This would be ‘Project One’ to emerge from the Paisley Vision – an ambitious ten-year blueprint recently revealed by the council, Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership, which imagines some ideas for what Paisley town centre could look like in a decade.
The Vision considers how vacant retail space could be better used to meet what people will need in future – and suggests ideas including new homes for town centre residents and new community and leisure ‘attractors’ such as a cinema or continental-style food hall.
The agreement was signed by Renfrewshire Council’s leader Iain Nicolson and depute leader Jim Paterson, and the PCT’s chair Gary Kerr and deputy chair Andy Campbell.
Cllr Nicolson said: “The council’s job is help make Renfrewshire a place where communities and businesses can thrive – but we recognise we can’t do that on our own.
“That can only happen by working with community groups who share our aims and by supporting them to deliver on theirs, and there are a number of current initiatives intended to strengthen that.
“The council and the PCT share a common goal to help bring new life to Paisley town centre and their plans for a new High Street cinema could complement the work we are already doing to transform Paisley’s future through investment in our historic venues and outdoor spaces.
“This agreement helps formalise that commitment and we look forward to seeing how we can support the trust to deliver on their ambitions.”
Gary Kerr of the PCT added: “Paisley Community Trust have been working with our local communities for a number of years to deliver community-focused leisure-led regeneration projects to the town.
“’Project 1’, the cinema project is a culmination of these years of work and refinement. We were delighted to be part of the Paisley Vision research and to make a strong case for the inclusion of cinema in the long-term plans and we are delighted to see its adoption as a vital component.
“Community-focused cinema has such an important role to play in the town. It can reconnect socially isolated groups such as pensioners. It can provide accessible, autistic-friendly viewing options for children with autism and their parents.
“It can educate and deliver resources to our young people to allow them to tell their own stories on film. Vitally it can provide considerable footfall in the town, delivering an economic boost for our local traders.”
Renfrewshire Council is currently overseeing a once-in-a-generation £100m investment in Paisley town centre, including the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and keeping Paisley Town Hall at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue, bringing huge volumes of new visitors to the town.