A Paisley site of strategic importance for Renfrewshire’s long-term economic and community development is to be brought into public ownership.
Renfrewshire Council has agreed terms to conclude its purchase of the bulk of the 24-acre site at Renfrew Road from Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers. It is anticipated ownership of the site will transfer to the Council later this year.
Bringing the site into public ownership will allow the Council to explore a range of possible development opportunities, including new transport links, economic and community uses, supporting the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Coronavirus.
Situated to the north of the town centre, the sizeable site sits between West College Scotland’s Paisley campus and Abbotsinch Retail Park, with the White Cart river to the west.
The Council is exploring options for an economic development corridor along the White Cart, improving connections from Paisley town centre to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland under development next to Glasgow Airport.
The Chivas Brothers land has been identified as a possible site for a new Paisley Grammar School, with a public consultation to take place at a future date.
The remainder of the site is being purchased by Scottish Leather Group, which is converting the North Hall into a new car seat upholstery facility as the UK’s largest leather manufacturer expands its Renfrewshire operations, bringing with it a further 100 high-skilled jobs.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local, national and global economies and we must be ready and able to tackle the social and economic harm now and in the months ahead.
“We have awarded more than £25million in government grants to businesses to provide immediate support and have consulted with more than 500 businesses and enterprise and education leaders as we develop a roadmap for Renfrewshire’s economic recovery, with a central focus on retaining and creating jobs.
“I am pleased that, following detailed negotiations with Chivas Brothers over the last two years, we have been able to conclude a contract for the future purchase of this site. Securing its public ownership will enable us to consider a range of development opportunities which support long-term growth of the local economy and bring benefits to the surrounding communities.
“The Chivas Brothers site provided many local jobs over the years and I am pleased that while one chapter is closing, this purchase will ensure the site continues to play a vital role in the region’s future for many years to come.”
Iain McFadyen, CEO of Scottish Leather Group said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured the North Hall part of the Chivas Brothers site which will allow us to expand our operations in Renfrewshire. The site will initially employ 100 people cutting leather for premium automotive interiors.”
Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted to have confirmed the sale of our Paisley site to Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Leather Group. Together they bring significant opportunity to the local area, with the latter creating 100 new high-skilled jobs.
“The site has played an important role in the local community for many years, so we’re pleased this sale will allow it to continue to leave a positive economic and cultural legacy in Paisley.”