Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

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Photographs of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally which took place in Paisley last night (Wednesday 27th January) Thousand of people turned up on a freezing cold night to wave on the drivers who are starting out on the 2,688km trek over the Alps to Monte Carlo as part of the official Rally Monte Carlo Historique, while others were heading off on shorter heritage runs to Balmaha and Dumfries.

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Paisley bid for City of Culture in 2021 was evident everywhere last night with the crowd waving flags and banners displaying the logo, as well as a specially modified cars livery featuring the Paisley2021 logo which is part of the Classic Car Rally.

With only a few days to go, Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall is urging people to put their nominations in for this year’s Provost’s Community Awards ahead of the deadline of Sunday 31 January.

Provosts Awards 47

The awards honour those who devote their time to helping others in the Renfrewshire community or who are an inspiration to others people’s lives.

Provost Awards 04

Last year Vikki Swan, of Stepping Stones Nursery in Johnstone, took the time to nominate her employer, Lorna Bradley, for the Employer of the Year award.

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Vikki said: “As a nursery we are always busy but Lorna makes time for everyone and is extremely appreciative of the work that we do.

“She is very flexible, taking into consideration the needs of her staff’s changing circumstances and often takes us out for team lunches to show her appreciation for our efforts.

“She was overcome with emotion when she found out about her nomination and subsequent win. We all feel the same way about Lorna and were delighted to put her forward.

“I would definitely encourage everyone to nominate their employer after seeing how Lorna reacted.”
Lorna received her award at a special ceremony held at Tweedie Hall in Linwood. This year’s awards will be presented at Paisley Town Hall on Friday 11 March.

Lorna said: “I was completely overwhelmed and surprised when I found out about the award. I didn’t expect it all and I’m extremely grateful to my team for nominating me.

“It really is a team effort here and I try to provide strong management to help our team.

“Being self employed is difficult and the award gives good feedback to an employer and lets them know they are doing a good job.”

The award is sponsored by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, who said: “Renfrewshire has many thriving businesses, both large and small, which provide a terrific working environment for their staff. This award is a chance for those outstanding employers to be recognised.

“If your employer makes your job easier and more enjoyable through their actions then nominate them now.”

There are five categories for the awards: Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers Award and Employer of the Year.

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall said: “There are only a few days to go to nominate that deserving person or group and give them the recognition that they deserve.

“You can fill out a nomination form online at or pick up a printed form at Council offices and facilities.”

From the microscopic to the astronomic Light Fantastic embarks on a journey of discovery into the illuminating world of light.  This exhibition, currently on display at Paisley Museum runs until 28 March. Admission is FREE.

RDC Paisley Museum Light Fantastic 27.1.16

RDC Paisley Museum Light Fantastic 27.1.16

Visitors will discover how we explore the far reaches of space by studying distant light from the cosmos and learn more about the natural world. Discover how some snake species can ‘see heat’, how birds see in the ultra-violet and delve into the colourful world of iridescence apparent in the plumage of many birds and the wings of many butterflies. Visitors will also be able to view the hidden colours in minerals as they transform under fluorescing light and get up close to the microscopic world in our Micrarium.

John Pressly, Observatory Office at Coats Observatory and co-curator of the exhibition states  ‘The scientific apparatus from Coats Observatory featured in this exhibition is the Victorian equivalent of today`s advanced astronomical equipment and marks the progression made in studying the night sky scientifically in order to gain an understanding of the cosmos and our place within it.”

Nicola Macintyre, Assistant Curator of Natural History at Paisley Museum states ‘”The human eye is only capable of seeing light in the visible spectrum, but some animals can see further, into the infra-red and ultra-violet. Light in the natural world produces a great variety of effects from fungi and fish that create their own light, to minerals and invertebrates that fluoresce and the many beautiful birds, beetles and butterflies that shimmer with iridescent colour. This exhibition therefore will help to shine a light on the colourful world of nature”.

Councillor Jim Harte, Chairman of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd states ‘This exhibition gives us the opportunity to showcase objects and displays from the impressive Natural History and Coats Observatory collections at Paisley Museum and I’m sure will appeal to visitors of all ages’

Light Fantastic features interactive displays, natural history specimens and rarely seen scientific equipment from the Coats Observatory collection.

Thousands of people went car crazy in Paisley tonight as vintage vehicles again took over the town centre for the only UK start leg of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

27/01/16.. PAISLEY TOWN CENTRE. Start of the Monte Carlo Rally

Start of the Monte Carlo Rally

Paisley was hosting one of world motorsport’s most glamorous events for the third year in a row, as the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace.

More than 70 classic cars dating back as far as the 1920s gathered outside the iconic backdrop of Paisley Abbey before being flagged over the start ramp by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall.

Paisley is just one of five start cities for the rally from across Europe, with the others being Barcelona, Oslo, Reims and Bad Homburg, near Frankfurt.

Many cars were starting out on the 2,688km trek over the Alps to Monte Carlo as part of the official Rally Monte Carlo Historique, while others were heading off on shorter heritage runs to Balmaha and Dumfries.

Entrants included a 1950s London taxi piloted by a Belgian crew, and a Paisley for UK City of Culture 2021 branded Chrysler Sunbeam driven by a local driver.

This year saw a number of vehicles leave from John o’Groats, honouring the 90th anniversary of Scot Victor Bruce’s winning campaign, which started in the Caithness village back in 1926.

Visitors were able to get up close to the cars during the day, with Renfrewshire Council also laying on a programme including street entertainers and music from Clyde 1 DJs.

There was also kids entertainment in Paisley Town Hall including a giant Scalextric set and Sega rally simulator.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Once again, we attracted huge numbers of visitors to Paisley for the UK start leg of the Monte.

“Being able to host such a popular, unique and truly international event like this is a great way to show off what Paisley has to offer ahead of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“Our thanks again go to our friends on the Rally Start Committee and we would like to wish bon voyage to them and all the drivers setting off for France.”

Douglas Anderson, co-ordinator of the UK Start Leg, added: “Since the rally returned to Scotland in 2011, more than 60,000 people have turned out to see these wonderful cars set off.

“2016 saw a new chapter written in the illustrious history of the Monte in Scotland, with a group of cars travelling down from John O’Groats, one of the original starting points for the rally.

“Once again, the people of Paisley gave the drivers a wonderful send-off and I would like to thank them and our colleagues at Renfrewshire Council for hosting another memorable start leg.”

SOME of the country’s top basketball players will be hooping it up at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre this weekend.

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The popular sports venue is hosting the basketball Scotland Scottish Cup Finals on Saturday and Sunday, January 30 and 31 and players from Renfrewshire’s St Mirren West College Scotland team have won their way into three finals. The Under 16 Men will play West Lothian Wolves, at 10.30am, on the first day of the finals and at 5.15pm, the Senior Men’s team take on Edinburgh University.  On the Sunday, at 1.15pm, St Mirren West College Scotland’s Under 18 Men’s team takes on City of Edinburgh Kings in a bid to lift the national trophy.

Other games on Saturday are the Under 18 Women’s Final at 12.45pm when Lady Rocks take on West Lothian Wolves. And at 3pm Lothian Phoenix takes on the Glasgow-based St Mirren Warriors in the Wheelchair Basketball Final.

On Sunday the other finals being played are at 11am between the Under 16 Women’s teams, Boroughmuir Blaze and Stirling Knights and at 3.30pm, the Senior Women’s Final will be played between St Andrew’s University and Edinburgh University.

Joyce McKellar is chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure – the management trust that runs sports, leisure, arts and culture services locally. She said: “Basketball is a very popular and well-run sport locally and we expect a lot of spectators to come along to watch an exciting two days of competition with a Scottish Cup up for grabs in each match. “Bringing these Scottish Cup games to The Lagoon shows Renfrewshire can be at the heart of national sporting events and that we have the first-class facilities to attract tournaments like this.”

Glasgow Airport has secured Scotland’s first ever direct service to South Korea after flag carrier Korean Air and tour operator Hanjin Travel confirmed they will introduce a summer charter service from the capital of Seoul.

Glasgow Airport exterior

Korean Air and sister company Hanjin Travel will operate three services during August 2016 between Seoul and Glasgow Airport which will serve as the gateway to over 1,000 South Korean tourists who will fly to and from Scotland.

Hanjin Travel is one of South Korea’s leading travel companies and has played a major role in developing the country’s tourism industry. In recent years, it has been extending its European route network with the launch of similar charter services to Oslo and Marseille. Hanjin Travel has launched its Glasgow service with a view to introducing further flights in 2017.

Operated by Korean Air using an Airbus A330 aircraft, the first flight from Seoul will arrive in Glasgow on 5 August with the second and third flights arriving on 12 and 19 August respectively.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “To have secured what is Scotland’s first direct service to South Korea is a major milestone for Glasgow Airport and it is of huge significance to our tourism industry. The decision by Korean Air and its sister company Hanjin Travel to introduce this route reinforces Scotland’s global appeal as a tourist destination and it highlights the growth in demand we are experiencing from Asian tourists.

“Hanjin Travel has been instrumental in encouraging the growth of South Korea’s outbound tourism market and this service represents an important step in further strengthening Scotland’s ties with Asia. We are looking forward to welcoming both Korean Air and Hanjin Travel on board and to working closely with them to develop their initial charter programme in the years ahead.”

Mr Oh Sang Kwon, President Hanjin Travel stated “As one of South Korea’s leading travel companies we are very proud to be introducing the wonderful city of Glasgow and indeed the whole of Scotland to our passengers.  I am sure the city’s excellent shopping and wonderful architecture alongside the world renowned scenery of Scotland will prove very popular with South Korean travellers. We look forward to a traditional Scottish welcome when we arrive in Glasgow Airport this August.

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Securing Korea’s national air carrier and Scotland’s first direct service from South Korea is a momentous achievement for Glasgow and a fantastic start to the new year for the city and our airport.

“Having just been named by travel industry bible National Geographic Traveller as one of the 20 best destinations in the world for 2016, this announcement further strengthens Glasgow’s reputation as Scotland’s long-haul gateway and reinforces our commitment to growing the city’s global connectivity and forging tourism links with emerging markets. Glasgow is looking forward to working with Korean Air and Hanjin Travel ahead of the service commencing this summer.”

Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said: “The announcement of this charter service is an exciting development for Glasgow Airport, providing a direct link to Seoul, one of the biggest cities in the world.

“This service will provide another direct link to Scotland for visitors who want to get a taste of our fantastic tourism experience. I congratulate both Glasgow Airport and Hanjin, and wish them every success with this new service. The Scottish Government hopes it can be a stepping stone to a more extensive link between Scotland and South Korea in the future.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “New long haul connections via the Middle East and major European hubs are making it increasingly easy for visitors from emerging markets to connect to Scotland.

“I visited Seoul last year – a first for VisitScotland – to meet and build relationships with key industry leaders and as such I’m delighted that a major tour operator in the South Korean market is launching a direct charter series. With our exceptional golf courses, Scotland is well positioned as an aspirational destination amongst South Koreans and this exciting development will further help to build Scotland’s profile for new visitors from the Far East.”

Allan McQuade, Business Infrastructure Director, Scottish Enterprise added: “This new direct service is excellent news for Scotland. Direct services make Scotland a more attractive destination for both tourists and businesses by removing the need for extra connecting flights. This not only helps the economy by boosting tourism, but also encourages overseas trade and investment.”

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates head North this weekend as they undertake their longest journey of the year to face Moray Typhoons in another SNL fixture, and fresh from their pulsating 3-1 win over Edinburgh Capitals last Sunday which took them to third place in the SNL standings.

paisley pirates

It was an important win for us,” said coach Ian Turley, as he reflected on the victory against Pirates’ eastern rivals. “We lost Stuart Miller early on after he took an accidental knock and that upset our rhythm a bit, as it forced us to re-shuffle the lines a little, but these are the kind of games you have to win and I like to think it showed the strength of character we’re displaying these days. We had to fight for every puck against the Caps and I thought that while we weren’t playing with the fluidity I’ve seen us show at other times, we’re developing the ability to win even when it’s maybe not as pretty as you’d like. Make no mistake, this team has a load of grit and determination and I think it showed on Sunday against opponents who aren’t short on those qualities either.”

As I’ve been saying all year, the standard in this league continues to rise, and you can’t look at any game and reckon “it’s two points in the bag,” Turley stressed. Edinburgh were runaway leaders earlier in the season, but they’ve lost a few matches recently, and while they’re certainly not out of anything at this stage, there’s four or five teams at least in with a shout of making the playoffs. It shows that you really have to prepare properly for every game and take nothing for granted, as there are plenty of teams able and willing to turn you over at the moment if your standards drop a fraction.”

We’re on a good run just now”, he went on, “and the guys have earned every credit they’ve been receiving, while we’re playing with the confidence that comes from being on a run. Having said all of that, we’ve got a tricky away match at Elgin this coming Saturday and, as we found to our cost in the Scottish Cup there last season, it’s a very different proposition playing the Typhoons in their own place, than it is on the wide open spaces of Braehead. The rink is tight, there always seems to be a lot of players on the ice, and it’s a completely different kind of game to that which supporters are used to seeing us play at home.”

We have to remember that while we received two very welcome points in beating the Caps on Sunday, you get exactly the same reward for beating anyone else, and that’s the attitude we’re taking on the run in towards the end of the regular season-no looking too far ahead, no anticipating what might happen in the weeks and months ahead, the only priority for us right now is to go to Elgin on Saturday and, hopefully, come away with the points-otherwise it will have wasted the hard work and effort we put into defeating the Capitals-one game at a time, concentrate on getting the preparation right for that match, and then move on after it-that’s the mantra from here on in!”

paisley 2021 base

Two vacant units in Paisley High Street are set to be brought back into use in a double boost for the town centre’s regeneration and UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

The former Burger King restaurant at 5 High Street will be refurbished and opened within the next few months as a base for the Paisley 2021 bid.

paisley 2021 base

And the basement of the adjacent Bargain Buys store at number 7 has moved a step closer to becoming a publicly-accessible museum store by 2017.

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Property Policy Board today gave council officers the green light to sign leases on both units.


Once refurbishment work is complete, the Paisley 2021 Hub will function as a central and visible point where the public can drop in to find out more about the bid, as well as an office and meeting space for the bid team.

The confirmation of the lease for the museum store comes after the council last year set aside £3.7m towards the costs of fitting out the large basement unit by 2017.

The building will house the contents of the current museum store at Whitehaugh but will be designed in a way that allows access to the public and educational groups.

whitehaugh barracks

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “This is a double boost for Paisley as the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace.

“By finding new and innovative uses for two units on our High Street which have been empty for years, we are generating footfall which will help surrounding retail businesses, while also improving the appearance of the street.

“These two developments won’t on their own solve all the problems of Paisley’s High Street but they and other projects around the town centre – such as the ongoing work at Arnotts and the Russell Institute – all mark big steps in the right direction.

“The Paisley 2021 Hub will be a focal point for the activities of the small bid team – and by taking them out of the council offices and into the heart of the town centre we are sending a message that this bid belongs to all of Paisley.

“Meanwhile, the museum store is a key part of our plans to transform Paisley’s future using heritage and culture, and will go ahead whether we win the UK City of Culture title or not.

“Paisley is fortunate to have a museum collection regarded as internationally-significant but at the moment we don’t have the capacity to get enough of it on display.

“Once complete, the new facility will change that, which will be good news for the residents, visitors and school pupils who we expect to make use of it.

“This development, alongside the bigger plans to turn Paisley Museum into an international class destination for heritage tourism by 2021, can help inject a new energy into our town centre and High Street.”

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