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A first-of-its kind study with radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade has been published – and aims to start a conversation about what might be possible in the town.

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership – and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used

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Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, will officially unveil the report at an event in the town centre today.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – is based on the idea changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall. Their suggestions include:

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– introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;

– new ‘attractors’ such as a High Street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;

– bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the High Street and street-fronts;

– new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

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– how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;

– other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre;

Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

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“A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

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“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

The contents of the report build on work already happening to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future through the Future Paisley programme, which aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes a £100m investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination for the town’s internationally-significant collections, which last week saw £3.8m of funding confirmed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paisley is already finding new uses for vacant High Street spaces – construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services, for which the first images have just been revealed.

That will build on the success of Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017 – showing Paisley’s ambitions to put culture at the heart of its future high street are already being realised.

The Paisley Vision was produced after gathering feedback from key local partners – including community groups, businesses, educational establishments and private developers.

The idea for a High Street cinema is already being taken forward by a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – who, with support from the council, are developing their own plans to convert an existing building for that purpose.

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said: ““It’s exciting to see such a transformational and radical vision for Paisley’s future revealed. Paisley Community Trust fully back this new vision for Paisley and we congratulate Threesixty Architecture on producing a superb piece of work.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision. This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre. It’s Project One if you like.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes on it for a while now and will reveal more details very soon. We also look forward to seeing the other concepts from the vision being explored and developed into regeneration projects of their own in the years ahead.”

Colette Cardosi, chair of town centre business improvement district Paisley First, added: “In recent years, Paisley has found itself firmly back on the map with fantastic events for visitors and a growing number of independent businesses.

“However, like many towns throughout the country, we need to continuously adapt and evolve and Paisley First welcomes collaboration on any long-term strategy for the future which can help bring in new investment and new footfall to local businesses in Paisley town centre.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the Vision, said: “This study shows a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebalance our High Street back to a place with a rich mix of uses. As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

The council now hopes to hear from developers who are interested in investing in Paisley – with one firm which has already done so believing a template for success already exists.

Brian Clark, managing director of Park Lane Developments, said: “We believe  Park Lane’s partnership with Renfrewshire Council on the regeneration of the former Arnotts department store has already shown the way for how the public and private sector can work together to transform a town centre site.

“That project has already delivered 67 completed private and social rented housing along with the welcome addition of the Pendulum restaurant. The final phase is just about to go for planning and will bring an additional 70  new homes.

“The site was derelict for 10 years and is now back in beneficial use bringing new residents and activity back into the town centre – and shows the potential that exists in Paisley as a place to live and invest.”

Residents and businesses have the chance to see and give their views on the Paisley Vision plans for themselves at a public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre – on Friday 24 (1 to 4.30pm), Saturday 25 (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday 27 January (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyvision, along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley’s popular Halloween and Spree 2019 festivals delivered a £1.2million economic boost to Renfrewshire.

That’s according to the findings of independent assessments into the two October events, which also showed record numbers of people attended the festivals in 2019.

Paisley Halloween Festival

One of the largest events of its kind in the UK, the Dark Circus themed Paisley Halloween Festival attracted 41,000 people across the two-days – up 17% on 2018. The event was delivered alongside internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou.

More than 350 costumed performers and community groups took part in the Mardi Gras style parade, the centrepiece of the festival, which wound its way through the town centre. The parade also featured fantastic, giant lion and elephant floats, ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, to delight the gathered crowds.

Gerry Rafferty Song Book

Twenty six percent of attendees to the Halloween festival were from outside Renfrewshire demonstrating the popularity and stellar programme of the free, family-friendly activities on offer.

The Paisley Halloween Festival was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for the 2019 event.

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The festival delivered £824,250 to the local economy with local businesses benefiting from the high number of visitors in the town that weekend.

Paisley Halloween Festival scooped the Best Cultural Event or Festival at the 2019/20 Scottish Thistle Awards West Scotland regional finals and will now go on to compete in the prestigious national final on March 5, 2020.

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The Spree also delivered impressive results for the area. More than 12,000 festival-goers turned out to enjoy the diverse range of acts in the stunning Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square – allowing for more people to enjoy the performances.

The numbers also add up, with a £411,000 total economic boost from the 10-day music, arts and cultural festival.

Paisley Halloween Festival

The Spree 2019 saw record ticket sales with music and comedy fans being treated to sell-out shows from Hue and Cry, Glasvegas, The Snuts, Jerry Sadowitz and spectacular performances from Soul legend PP Arnold, Hayseed Dixie, Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook and two Friday comedy nights compered by Fred MacAulay and Scott Gibson.

The festival was programmed by Regular Music and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

There was also a packed Wee Spree programme for kids during the school holidays with 2,822 people heading along to enjoy the events – the highest number of attendees on record for the event.

The festival also provided a boost to local traders with many festival-goers choosing to Spend Local and sample the great bars, restaurants and cafes in the area.

Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Spree Festival Club of daily events during the festival, said: “We absolutely loved hosting the Spree Festival Club at The Old Swan – it was a fantastic week of live music. The pub was really busy with a great atmosphere and a great mix of customers old and new, who came to see what the Festival Club was all about and enjoy the variety of talent we had on show.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It was phenomenal to see such great numbers coming along to Paisley’s Halloween Festival and to Spree and now this report shows the positive impact these major events have on the local economy and local businesses.

“We’re continuing to work with partners to offer a fantastic calendar of events to attract residents and visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and major events are an important part of our plans to use our culture and heritage to drive footfall and cement our status as one of Scotland’s top visitor destination.”

big wheel

Paisley is the place to be this Christmas with WinterFest just one of the highlights to help get you in the mood for the festive season!

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Running until 30th December, our outdoor ice rink is back, and our big wheel is lighting up the Paisley skyline yet again!

Don’t forget there’s a 20% discount on ice skating for those who can show proof of a PA postcode at the ticket office, or who have a valid Young Scot card.

Family favourites such as the Rudolph coaster, carousel and the Wave Swinger have also returned as well as the Fire Pit and ever-popular Nutella House.

Visitors to Paisley town centre can also see a very special Santa and his reindeers…taking three months to build, and using 700,000 LEGO® Bricks, you can even sit next to Santa on his sleigh for a Christmas selfie!

Our free festive trail is the Christmas Bricklive spectacular, the Paisley Penguin Parade Trail – follow the trail of penguins around the town centre, naming all our penguins as you go,  find our Christmas Emperor Penguin to claim your festive treat and enter our prize draw!

Trail maps and entry forms are available in the Piazza and Paisley Shopping Centres along with our Paisley Guide to Christmas, giving you the lowdown on the best places to shop, socialise and get ready for Christmas!

Remember, around 65p from every pound spent locally, stays local – so by picking up that coffee, going for lunch or buying that gift, you can do your bit to support the local community and its businesses.

And follow Paisley First on social media @PaisleyFirst to take part in our 12 Days of Christmas Competition with fantastic prizes from local businesses up for grabs every day in the run up to Christmas, starting tomorrow!

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You get weekly updates on the network where you can showcase your brand, products, acts, events in fact nearly almost everything you wish to promote, always remember your audience. Contact brian@paisley.org.uk today. Here is an infographic with some numbers relating just to this website.

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Paisley will be celebrating all things merry and bright at this year’s Christmas Light Switch-On event with thousands expected to turn out to enjoy the fun.

Santa and his sleigh will ride into town from 12.30pm on Saturday 16 November, signalling the beginning of this free, festive, family event.

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A highlight of the day’s activities is the Santa parade, which has a new extended route for 2019. The parade will be led by Santa on his sleigh, who will guide this year’s 300-strong parade through the town – dazzling spectators with giant festive floats, costumed characters and choreographed displays from local community groups and professional performers. Following the parade there will be a number of street performers entertaining the crowds.

New for 2019 is the fantastic, ticketed Winter Roller Disco in County Square. Visitors can take a spin around the rink at one of the six sessions taking place.

There will be plenty of music and entertainment on the live stage with performances from; Funbox, The Swinging Santas, Nickajack Men and this year’s stage headliners, special guests and The X Factor stars, Reggie ‘N’ Bollie.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without carols, and where better to hear them than the majestic Paisley Abbey where a series of local community and school choirs will perform to put everyone in the festive mood.

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained as Coats Memorial will be transformed into the perfect Christmas playground bursting with activities to keep the little ones entertained such as writing letters to Santa, making Christmas cards, face painting, soft play and much more.

The Piazza Shopping Centre will be home to Santa’s Grotto for kids to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and for those looking to do a bit of Christmas shopping there will also be an Urban Market offering plenty of fabulous gift ideas.

A Creative Craft Trail will be taking place as part of the event in some of the town’s fantastic local cafes and businesses, where visitors can learn to make festive jewellery, decorations and fascinators among other activities.

The yuletide activities culminate in lighting up of the town with the big switch-on moment at 6pm.

This year the lights will extend to the top of the High Street leading to a giant illuminated Christmas bauble, delivered in partnership with Paisley First. The bauble will be located in the grounds of Coats Memorial Church offering the perfect festive selfie spot.

Renfrewshire Provost, Lorraine Cameron said: “The Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On is one of the biggest events in the winter calendar and this year’s programme is packed with plenty of festive, fun activities for everyone.

“It’s an event that always brings visitors into the town and it’s one of my personal favourites. I’m looking forward to helping celebrate the start of the festive season in the town and I hope to see lots of smiling families there.”

There will also be a funfair at the event located on Bridge Street with smaller rides on Gilmour Street.

To find out more about future events taking place please visit: https://paisley.is/list_event/.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival launched tonight with plenty of thrills and chills for visitors.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

The two-day spectacular is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK. This year’s event has a Dark Circus theme and promises to be the biggest and best yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the entire town centre into the perfect Halloween playground.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

The festival continues on Saturday with a whole host of frighteningly fun, free activities for everyone to enjoy including the spectacular Mardi-Gras style parade, with the entire town serving as the stage.

To find out more visit: www.paisley.is/halloween.

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If you are heading to Paisley’s Halloween Festival this weekend, don’t forget to check out the town centre’s Halloween Sculptures. 

You may have already seen the fantastic animal sculptures dotted around the town centre this year, but have you seen them dressed for Halloween yet? 

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To celebrate Paisley’s Halloween Festival, these sculptures made from recycled materials have been transformed into witches, ghouls and a pumpkin to name just a few. 

Their new outfits have also been created with recycled materials, all with a resin coating to make them waterproof. 

Created by local artist Kevin Cantwell, there are seven stunning sculptures including a unicorn, highland cow and a heron but you will need to visit them during October in Paisley town centre to see how they have been transformed! 

Our visitors are dotted around the town and are available on a new Halloween trail map for those wishing to find all of these unique sculptures. Pick up your leaflet from either the Piazza Shopping Centre or the Paisley Centre today! 

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Plus pick up a Golden Ticket and you could win £500 towards your Christmas shopping! 

We have £500 each of Paisley town centre gift vouchers up for grabs for four lucky winners in the run up to the festive season with our Christmas Golden Ticket Competition! 

Receive a Golden Ticket with every purchase in Paisley town centre, post it in one of our Golden Post-boxes in the Piazza Shopping Centre Paisley and The Paisley Centre and you could be one of our lucky winners! 

Around 65p from every pound spent locally, stays local – so by picking up that coffee, going for lunch or buying that gift, you can do your bit to support the local community and its businesses. 

Golden Tickets are available now in Paisley town centre businesses with our draws taking place on 23rd and 30th November and 7th and 14th December, just the thing to help you with your Christmas shopping! 

Just one of the perks of shopping and socialising in Paisley town centre this Winter! Good Luck!

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paisley arts institute

ONE MONTH TO GO:
PAISLEY ART INSTITUTE

131st ANNUAL EXHIBITION

7th September – 20th October 2019

Unit 43a & 54, The Piazza, Paisley PA1 1EL
Open:  Tue-Sat 11.30am-5.30pm and Sun 12noon-5pm
***** FREE ENTRY *****

paisley arts institute

PAISLEY ART INSTITUTE – 131st ANNUAL EXHIBITION

One of the UK’s longest-running art exhibitions opens with nearly 600 works in an exciting new temporary space, in the Piazza, Paisley for six weeks from 7th September to 20th October 2019.  The Paisley Art Institute was established in 1876 for the encouragement and promotion of art.

paisley arts institute

PAI is one of the highest regarded art exhibitions of its kind in Scotland and the UK.  It will feature, paintings, sculpture, mixed media, and for the first time, virtual reality and digital work.  Sourced from artists members and hundreds of open entrants this exhibition truly has something to offer every type of visitor.

PAI is also delighted that leading UK artist, John Walter, will appear as Guest Artist, bring his Virtual Reality project, The Fourth Wall, to Paisley.  Commissioned by theLook Again Festival, this new VR work creates imaginary landscapes where John invites viewers to enter a virtual playground of symbology surrounded by immersive sound, music, text, and highly colourful imagery.  The artist describes himself as a maximalist and his work is both esoteric and profound in his use of everyday objects, symbols, and motifs that are highly recognisable.  He has a particular fascination with pattern, none more so than the world-famous Paisley Pattern which is referenced in this new work.

In recent years, the PAI annual exhibition has featured upwards of 500 works and organisers hope that, alongside painting, drawing, and sculpture, this year’s exhibition will attract an increase of screen-based and installation type entries to fill their new venue.

PAI President Jean Cameron says “We are so delighted to have found a venue right in the heart of Paisley that allows PAI to continue to have the scale and ambition that artists and audiences expect from Paisley Art Institute’s Annual Open Exhibition.  Our venue this year is practically on the site of the old Government School of Design in Paisley from where Paisley Art Institute sprung in the nineteenth century, so this year it feels very much like we are going back to our roots at the same time as having an eye to the future”.

PAI welcomes visitors to Paisley in a busy events season starting with nationalDoors Open Day and leading to The Spree music and comedy Festival.  Visitors can also enjoy our stunning heritage attractions, from the 865-year-old Paisley Abbey, birth-place of the Royal Stewarts, to sight-seeing the dozens of magnificent Victorian architectural masterpieces in our town skyline.

The Exhibition will run from 7th September to 20th October 2019.  
Open: Tue-Sat 11.30am-5.30pm & Sun 12noon-5pm (closed Mondays)
Venue: Unit 43a & 54, The Piazza, Central Way, Paisley PA1 1EL
The venue is adjacent Paisley Gilmour Street Station with level access throughout.
***** FREE ENTRY *****