Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

One of Scotland’s most successful business locations received a boost to its growth potential yesterday (26.01.16) when councillors agreed to progress with plans to create a Simplified Planning Zone (SPZ) at Westway Business Park, Renfrew. The park is already workplace to 2,500 people and its growth plans are expected to create a further 1,000 jobs.



This innovative move effectively grants planning permission in advance for certain types of development specified within the Westway scheme. Any developments within an SPZ are well controlled to ensure that good standards of design and quality are met and that the zone is developed appropriately.

Simplified planning will contribute to the park’s ongoing success as businesses at Westway will have the flexibility adapt their premises to meet the demands of their markets and customers.

Its Simplified Planning Zone status will also support Westway’s master plan to attract a further 1,000 jobs to the site. The scheme will support the long term growth of businesses already based at Westway and attract new looking for a location that will accommodate their future needs.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Property Board, said; “This SPZ is an enterprising move for Westway and for the council. It will encourage business to locate and grow in the area; creating jobs and further economic success. We appreciate Westway’s commitment to Renfrewshire and are pleased to be able to support the park’s development plans.”

Mark Holmes from Moorfield Group added: “This is another exciting move for Westway. Our SPZ will definitely support our ongoing marketing and growth plans. We already offer a prime business location with easy access to the airport, the motorway and, of course, our own dock. The SPZ and City Deal investments will add even more to our offer. Renfrewshire Council is leading the way with innovative planning strategies and has been tremendously effective in supporting our growth strategy. We look forward to working closely with the council on all these projects.”

Westway’s commercial offer will also be enhanced by the City Deal infrastructure investments planned for Renfrewshire. It is part of the Glasgow Airport Area Investment Area project designed to link the Airport, Inchinnan and Westway business parks with a new bridge, roads, paths and cycleways. This will create an outstanding location with tremendous air, sea and land connections. Westway employees will also benefit from City Deal plans for a rail link between the Airport, Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Central station.

The prospect of more jobs is good news for Renfrew whose own Town Centre SPZ – Scotland’s first – is also expected to boost local business. The City Deal’s Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside Project will create conditions for further growth in the town when new roads and a bridge between Renfrew and Yoker will promote the regeneration and development of vacant and under used sites

Around 10 000 spectators will throng Paisley’s Abbey Close tomorrow evening (Wed) for the UK Start of the 105th Monte Carlo Classic Rally.
The world famous international event is being hosted by Renfrewshire Council as part of the build-up to the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Drivers of 70 classic vehicles, from a 1920s world record breaker to a 1950s London taxi, will be flagged over the start ramp at Paisley Abbey before beginning their colourful adventure.
The 2800km odyssey to the Riviera, via the Alps, is expected to take around a week, with crews meeting drivers from European start cities of Barcelona, Oslo, Reims and Bad Homburg.
Nearly 60 000 spectators have attended the endurance classic since the UK Start returned to Scotland in 2011.


A further addition to this year’s programme will be entrants from John o’Groats honouring the 90th anniversary of Scot Victor Bruce’s winning campaign, which started in the Caithness village back in 1926.

The ‘Monte’ was established by Prince Albert of Monaco in 1911. Despite having its origins in the golden age of adventure, its popularity has survived the decades.
“The Monte has always had a special sparkle,” says retired teacher, Gordon McAllan (68) from Strathaven, who will navigate a 1931 Riley with driver and owner, John Lomas.
“I used to sit next to a crackly Phillips valve radio in the 1950s, listening to reports of where the cars were in France. I was a Glasgow tenement boy growing up in a no-car family but the Monte had special meaning. It still does.”

(images by Jeff Holmes)

Ranald White (59) from Bearsden, who was also in attendance at Tuesday’s official photo-shoot, will drive the only Rover 2000 in the rally.
He is hoping for less drama than last year when a problem affecting both ends of his journey almost stymied his aspirations within sight of the finish line.

“The car developed a problem before I even got on the start ramp in Paisley but we managed to get it going. Then, when we were on the final stage in France, the car gave up again.

“It was the last major time control but, fortunately, we managed to get it onto the ramp, 45 seconds before being disqualified. We were certainly cutting it fine so we are hoping things are less eventful this year.”

(pictures by Tracey Clements of

International entrants include Belgian driver Jean-Marie Herman, who is setting his meter running at Paisley and hopes his 1950s taxi makes it to Monaco.
Jean-Marie and his crew are recreating the story of the BBC Sportsview team, who entered the rally in 1961 in a London black cab.

A specially-branded Paisley 2021 Sunbeam car, piloted by local driver Jim Megatt, will guide the competitors on their journey, with drivers also competing in heritage run support events.
Councillor Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: “We are delighted to welcome the only UK start leg of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally back to Paisley for the third year in a row.

“In previous years there’s always been a great family day out as crowds gather to watch the cars set off for France against the unique backdrop of Paisley Abbey, and I am sure this year will be no different.

“Being the host of such a glamorous and international event is really helping to put Paisley on the map ahead of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.”

Entertainment starts in Paisley town centre at 4pm and is hosted by Clyde 1 DJs on the main stage. Activities include street performers, food vendors, and children’s entertainment including a giant Scalextric set and Sega rally simulator in Paisley Town Hall.

Pupils from Renfrewshire collaborated with East Renfrewshire pupils to hold the first joint service to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.


Pupils spent a night performing drama, singing and displaying their artwork at this year’s memorial event in Giffnock.

The evening event at Eastwood Park Theatre on Saturday 23 January featured a drama ‘Don’t Stand By’ developed and performed by Paisley Grammar pupils while Linwood High provided a touching art exhibition relating to the Holocaust.

There were music performances by the East Renfrewshire Schools Senior Choir and the seven Statement of Commitment’s were read out by pupils from St Luke’s, Isobel Mair, Mearns Castle High, Williamwood, St Ninian’s, Woodfarm and Eastwood High.

This was the first time the neighbouring councils have worked together to remember the Holocaust, and other atrocities across the world, and mark Holocaust Memorial Day; which takes place on Wednesday 27 January.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “It is important that we mark Holocaust Memorial Day to ensure that the atrocities of the past are not forgotten. The service was a fitting occasion to remember those who have lost their lives across the world.

“I was pleased to see our schoolchildren taking part in a variety of ways with Paisley Grammar performing a drama piece, Linwood High donating an art exhibition and some of our Head Boys and Head Girls representing Renfrewshire’s schools.

“Millions have lost their lives through persecution and it is imperative that our children learn the lessons of the past to ensure no one has to face these horrors again.”

East Renfrewshire’s Provost Alastair Carmichael, who welcomed guests on the night, said: “This is the first time we have worked together with our neighbours in Renfrewshire to mark Holocaust memorial day in this way.

“Holocaust Memorial Day provides each of us with an opportunity to learn the lessons of the Holocaust. It is a chance to remember, but also a chance to pass the lessons of the past to the next generation.

“It is important that we don’t fall into the trap of believing that the horrors of the Holocaust started and ended with the Second World War.

“On Holocaust Memorial Day we share the memory of the millions who have been lost in the atrocities of the past, in order to challenge hatred and persecution today. We all have a responsibility to make sure that we don’t see history repeat itself.”

For more information on Holocaust Memorial Day visit:

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Struggling with energy bills? Help is available says local MP

This week (25-31 January) is “Debt Awareness Week” when organisations across the UK seek to raise awareness of the importance of dealing with debt.

To mark the initiative local MP Gavin Newlands, Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is highlighting the availability of free financial help and advice from independent charity, The Scottish Gas Energy Trust (SGET) as well as Scottish Gas and StepChange Debt Charity.

SGET provides grants to help pay off gas and electricity debts and to purchase energy efficient white goods such as washing machines and fridge/freezers.

Gavin Newlands MP said:

“January can be a financially difficult time for many so I’d strongly encourage anyone who is worried about their energy bills to get in touch with the Scottish Gas Energy Trust to get help and advice.

 “You don’t have to be a Scottish Gas customer to use this helpline and the help given is completely free.”

 Imelda Redmond CBE, Chair of Trustees at the Trust, added:

“Keeping on top of winter bills and managing debt is very important, which is why we urge anyone in difficulty to contact us as soon as possible.

 “The Trust is committed to helping as many people as possible whether through direct financial assistance, help with the purchase of appliances or through the many voluntary organisations we fund to provide money and energy debt advice.”

The Trust has provided more than £85m of help and assistance to 175,000 people since it was established in 2004.

Contact the Trust on 01733 421060 or via email on

 Scottish Gas also provides direct help for customers. This includes helping thousands of people, who are having difficulty paying their bills, with an interest free debt repayment plan. The company also helps millions of people with energy saving measures and has 1.5m customers registered on a Priority Services Register, which offers additional help for disabled or chronically ill customers and those of pensionable age.

More than 9,000 people have also been helped by a Scottish Gas/StepChange Debt Charity partnership which sees those in need receive specialist support and advice from trained professionals.

For more information please contact Scottish Gas on Freephone 0800 048 0202.

Emily Middlemas1

LNP Promotions are proud to announce Emily Middlemas will be supporting Hue and Cry at Paisley town hall.

“We’re delighted that Emily Middlemas is supporting us – we’ve been giving young Scottish musical talent a platform in this way for many years, and this continues the tradition.” says Pat Kane.

He added: “Ever since Linda got off the station at Paisley Gilmour Street – and that’s the true story behind the song – we’ve always had a special connection to the town. It’s going to be quite an occasion playing the Town Hall. We’re very much looking forward to hearing from everyone there”.

Emily Middlemas1

Teenage singer-song writing sensation, Emily Middlemas, although still a young lady making her way in the music industry, is in constant demand to play her music live – performing at gigs, charity events, and festivals all over Britain. And now back in Paisley, performing as part of a fundraiser for youth music charity Loud N Proud, where it all began for Emily.

She told us, “My brothers were part of Loud n Proud about 10 years ago and I used to go and see them play in The Rock Orchestra. When I was at a practice session one night Tommy who runs the organisation asked me to sing a song through the PA which was set up. He must have liked it because he said ‘I need to get you in a band’ and he did. I am looking forward to working with Loud n Proud again and getting into the rehearsal studios with my old band mates.

 I’m very excited to support Hue and Cry and playing in Paisley. Although I am a Glasgow girl I have a huge connection to Paisley through Loud n Proud. I started my career in the town and it will always be a special place for me.”

Recently making headlines by reaching the final stages in The X Factor, judged by mentor and Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole as being just a little too young and inexperienced! Cheryl obviously didn’t know that Emily was already a relative veteran of the stage.

Starting out at Loud N Proud – at the age of 11, in only two years she was the lead singer in ‘The Wee Band’ a group put together at the school. The young band went on to play to live audiences all over Britain, entering and winning Best Rock Band – Live and Unsigned UK (competing against adults), reaching the final of Roc Da Mic – UK and winning overall best act at Quest for Talent. Emily also announced in 2014 as overall winner of the TeenStar singing competition.

The Wee Band and Emily had racked up a wealth of experience, playing live at festivals up and down the country and after a break they are teaming up again to perform Emily’s new work for the first time in a full line up.

Tommy McGrory, who runs Loud N Proud, says; “Emily shot to fame through X Factor but behind all the hype and sparkle of the TV show many viewers didn’t know the real Emily. I’ve always thought she had something exceptional and to be back playing with her friends she met at Loud n Proud will be a special moment for me.  I’m sure the Paisley crowd will be in for a fantastic performance.

It’s very supportive of Hue and Cry to give our young students an opportunity to share the bill with them. It’ll be a fantastic experience for them all.”

Promoter Gary Kerr of LNP added his own vote of thanks, “We are extremely grateful to Hue and Cry for playing this show in Paisley as a fundraiser for Loud N Proud and offering Emily and the band a platform to showcase their exceptional talent.”

Emily is currently working in London writing and producing her own material with plans to release an album soon. She is on the radar of Modest Management, (One Direction and Little Mix) and of SONY – one of the world’s biggest record labels.

Hue and Cry are playing a full band fundraising show for Paisley Youth Music charity – Loud n Proud on Saturday 26th March.

Venue; Paisley Town Hall.

Tickets; available now; £25.00 (plus £2 booking fee = £27) other fees may apply

Standing or balcony (seated) (0141 204 5151 /0131 220 3234)

Apollo music (0141 887 6293) on sale and in the shop NOW.


For further info contact Gary Kerr at LNP Promotions; 07947 673 482 or

Tommy McGrory at Loud N Proud; 07765 543801

LNP Promotions exists to organise music and arts events and raise funds for our charity: Loud n Proud, Paisley.

This event will be the same.

“Following the success of last year’s visit from Guatemalan Fairtrade honey producer Ismael Dias, we’re very lucky to welcome TWO guests for 2016. From February 20th to 28th we will have two members of the Moe Goke Small Farmers’ Organisation with us here in Renfrewshire.rainbow turtle


During their visit, our guests will be visiting schools within Renfrewshire, as well as local groups, towns and villages.  If last year is anything to go by, we’re anticipating a lot of interest so we’re inviting people to get in touch using the contact form on our website.


Following on from the huge success of last year’s visit from Guatemalan honey producer Ismael Dias,this February Renfrewshire will be welcoming rice producers from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and we’d love for you to be involved. Our guests this year produce the first FAIRTRADE product to come out of the country, following the recent elections that mark a new chapter in the country’s history. Their rice will be used in many of TRAIDCRAFT’S products, such as Geobars and cereals. REGISTER YOUR SCHOOL Nothing makes Fair Trade come to life like meeting the people who it benefits. You can register your RENFREWSHIRE school’s interest through the VISIT REQUEST FORM on the Rainbow Turtle website: We’re expecting high demand so GET IN TOUCH ASAP!

It’s your chance to meet people whose lives are changed by Fair Trade and to learn how we fit together as Global Citizens.

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Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has described the local authority’s funding settlement as ‘completely unacceptable’ as the council announced its intention to reject the offer as it currently stands.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Councillor Macmillan wrote to Finance Secretary John Swinney this week to outline the council’s position ahead of a 22 January deadline.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I’ve made it quite clear that it would be unacceptable for Renfrewshire Council to accept the settlement as it stands at this point in time.

“First and foremost, this is the most significant grant cut ever applied to local government. It presents an unprecedented financial challenge for Renfrewshire Council and requires us to urgently reassess our financial plans for 2016/2017 – a situation that’s being compounded by the unnecessarily tight deadlines imposed.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has described the local authority’s funding settlement as ‘completely unacceptable’ as the council announced its intention to reject the offer as it currently stands.

Councillor Macmillan wrote to Finance Secretary John Swinney this week to outline the council’s position ahead of a 22 January deadline.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I’ve made it quite clear that it would be unacceptable for Renfrewshire Council to accept the settlement as it stands at this point in time.

“First and foremost, this is the most significant grant cut ever applied to local government. It presents an unprecedented financial challenge for Renfrewshire Council and requires us to urgently reassess our financial plans for 2016/2017 – a situation that’s being compounded by the unnecessarily tight deadlines imposed.

“Several years of the worst cuts faced by a mainland authority have made it increasingly difficult for us to deliver on our ambitions and this is the most significant blow yet. The cuts announced exceed anything we could have anticipated and would have repercussions for people in Renfrewshire.

“We also have significant concerns over the lack of detail to important aspects of the settlement. For example, £250million is intended for the new health and social care partnerships that are being formed, but there is no clarification on how this will be allocated or how it interacts with council’s own budgets. Neither is there any clarity over conditions on teacher numbers. We simply cannot sign up to an agreement when so many crucial details remain unclear.

“There are various options available to the Scottish Government which could alleviate the pressures on councils. For example, borrowing powers to pay for non-capital projects would allow us to invest in change and transformation projects and avoid more straight-forward reductions in service. This is the sort of positive, proactive response we could pursue rather than constantly reacting to increasingly short-term financial settlements. But this requires the opportunity for dialogue with the Scottish Government and, so far, our approaches have received no reply.”

Relatives and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide gathered in Paisley for a special remembrance service on Wednesday 20 January.


The annual event gives people the opportunity to remember those they have lost and find support through others who have faced similar experiences.

The event was organised by the Choose Life team on behalf of local support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), and was led by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall.

A short reading and prayer was delivered by Reverend Alan Birss of Paisley Abbey and poems were read by members of the Choose Life team in the Marriage Suite of Renfrewshire House.

A short procession followed to the memorial tree where the Provost laid a wreath and lit the tree. Those in attendance were able to place a handwritten message, on a purple heart, onto the tree in memory of the loved one they have lost.

Following the service Provost Hall invited guests to Paisley Abbey for tea and coffee.

Provost Hall said: “This service is vital to many of those in attendance and allows a fitting tribute to be given to those who have been lost. There is also the opportunity to connect and feel the support of others who have faced similar heartbreak.

It is important we continue to encourage people to talk about suicide as this really can save lives.”

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Young Person Resource Worker, added: “The service gives people the chance to remember those who have been lost to suicide. It is great there is an outlet for those who need it. In addition the SOBS support group which meets on the last Wednesday of the month at the Wynd Centre aims to provide a safe space for people to open up about their experiences, in the company of others who have lost a loved one to suicide. ”

Anyone who wishes to add a message to the memorial tree can collect a purple heart from the reception of Renfrewshire House.

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 116 123.

The SOBS National Helpline is 08445616855

For more information on the Renfrewshire meetings of SOBS, call 0141 849 2200, or or

Virgin Atlantic is to extend its seasonal Glasgow to Orlando service adding over 7,000 return seats to the sunshine state.

Virgin Altantic 747

The airline has announced the extended service in response to high demand for travel to Florida, and new flights will run weekly on Fridays during November 2016 and March 2017.

The addition of the new winter flights will make Virgin Atlantic’s 2016 Glasgow to Orlando programme its biggest yet. The new winter flights sit alongside Virgin Atlantic’s ever popular summer service which operates from Glasgow to Florida up to three times per week (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) using their iconic 747 ‘Jumbo Jet’. Passengers can enjoy the Virgin on board service in economy, premium economy or the luxurious upper class cabins.

Steven Marshall, marketing manager at Glasgow Airport said:

“This is fantastic news for Scottish travellers looking to get away to America’s sunshine state next winter from Scotland’s largest city. It demonstrates the popularity of Virgin Atlantic’s existing Orlando summer service which has grown every year since it launched at Glasgow Airport in 2007. Indeed – a great announcement to start off the airport’s 50th anniversary year.”

Erik Varwijk, Executive Vice President, Commercial at Virgin Atlantic commented:

“We’re delighted to be offering our customers more choice when flying to some of their favourite destinations. Florida is enduringly popular with our customers, so it makes perfect sense to increase this service during the most popular months.”

The new service will form part of Virgin Atlantic’s Joint Venture with Delta Air Lines, a partnership that creates an expanded trans-Atlantic route network enhancing competition between the UK and North America


New fun, friendly and inspiring choir now recruiting!

I would be very grateful if you could let your staff and/or customers know that SoundRoutes has a brand new choir starting in Paisley. We are seeking new members to join us  – adults of all ages are welcome, even those who think they can’t sing!


Our first rehearsal is on 27th January 2016 and we’ll meet each week from 7:30-9:00pm in Connect Church, 31 Broomlands Street, Paisley PA1 2NG. There are no auditions and no pre-booking required, you can just turn up.

We’ll be singing an exciting mix of folk, pop, rock, reggae, world and gospel songs. Members can learn harmony singing, improve their voice, make new friends and enjoy opportunities to record and perform.

Sessions will be led by SoundRoutes Singers professional musicians and the cost each week is £5 with no upfront fees – participants are only required to pay as they attend.

For more information:


Call: 07854 139407



Hope to see you there!