1 paisley centre entrance

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

1 paisley centre entrance

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:

1 paisley centre entrance

– 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

1 paisley centre entrance

– 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.

3 new Liberal Club (1)

“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.

6 YMCA cinema (1)

“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.

Brickz4kids

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.

Glasvagas

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.”

Paisley Halloween Festival - Copyright Chris Watt
cenotaph

The Paisley Development Trust would like you to participate in our annual remembrance of the victims of the Glen Cinema Disaster in 1929.

cenotaph

We meet at the Cenotaph at 10.30am on the 31st December and support the few survivors that are left and their families during the short ceremony and afterwards join them in a cup of tea in Burger and Keg in Gilmour street.

We would be delighted if you were able to attend.

Fireworks2019

More than 16,000 turned out in Paisley town centre on Saturday to watch a dazzling display of fireworks be set off against the backdrop of the town’s iconic Abbey.

Fireworks2019

The crowd wrapped up in the thickest woollies to watch the magnificent array of Catherine wheels, rockets and sparklers on display backed by a soundtrack of popular 90s classic hits.

The event started with Gus from Pulse FM welcoming crowds with music and banter at 6.30pm before the main event at 7pm.

Fireworks2019

Paisley’s winter events programme will continue with the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On on Saturday 16 November. There will be plenty of Christmas family fun including the popular Santa Parade in the town centre, Christmas Choir concerts, Santa’s Grotto and much more.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy exciting street artists, fantastic performances on the live stage and even head along to the festive roller disco.

The festive fun will also extend across Renfrewshire with Christmas Lights Switch-Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 23 November and Johnstone on Saturday 30 November.

The town centre also sees the return of the WinterFest event from 23 November until 30 December, run by Paisley First, featuring an outdoor ice rink, LEGO Paisley Penguin Parade Trail and plenty of festive fun.

For more information about Renfrewshire events, 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.

town hall

This small video was taken in and around Paisley for us by Paisley Buddie Drone Flights (no drones were used this time).

It shows a lot of local landmarks and is created in a way which is called motion capture, sit back and enjoy. This is the first video they have created so lessons learned and they will only get better…

You can see the drone videos created by Paisley Buddie Drone Flights by clicking here.

Martha Reeves
Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Intrepid members of the public are being given the chance to experience a piece of medieval archaeology up close in celebration of Renfrewshire’s history and heritage.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

To mark Doors Open Days 2019, experts from Guard Archaeology will lead guided tours of the historic Abbey Drain on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

The expedition down the drain follows on from the success of the tours as part of Doors Open Days 2018 – and as places on the tours will be in high demand, spaces will be allocated via a ballot.

The 100m long underground passageway, thought to be more than 700 years old, was unearthed in the 19th century and rediscovered in the 1990s.

This summer, an eight-week excavation – the Big Dig – unearthed a well-preserved 14th century archway marking where and how the drain met the River Cart, around three metres from the banks of the present-day river.

Archaeologists can now pinpoint the end of the drain and the boundary wall of the monastery, which informs what we already know about the infrastructure and layout of medieval Paisley.

The dig was managed by Renfrewshire Council, run by Guard Archaeology with help from Renfrewshire Local History Forum volunteers, and supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Abbey Drain tour is a very exciting opportunity for anyone interested in Paisley’s architecture, archaeology and heritage to experience a medieval structure first-hand.

“I’ve been into the inner workings of the drain myself and it was a fascinating experience.

“There will be plenty going on all over Renfrewshire as part of Doors Open Days. I would encourage people of all ages to get out and about across the weekend and support local businesses while learning more about our heritage and culture.”

To be in with a chance of going down the drain, visit https://paisley.is/listing/win-a-tour-of-the-great-medieval-drain-in-paisleys-abbey-close/ and fill out the ballot form. The ballot will close on Friday 23 August.

Tours will run between 10am and 4.30pm on both Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September.

Participants must be aged 12 or above.

Free for Three

Paisley First Press Release:  Following a successful campaign by Paisley First and local businesses, a Free for Three pilot project will get underway next week.

Many thanks to all those businesses who encouraged customers to sign our petition and then returned these petition forms to the Paisley First team.

free for three

As a result of our campaign, from Monday 29th July, visitors to Paisley will be able to take advantage of three hours free parking in the town centre as part of the pilot scheme to test the impact on local businesses and encourage people to spend their money locally.

Motorists will be able to park in six of the town centre’s car parks without being charged for the first three hours of their stay – the six car parks involved in the pilot are Orchard Street, Weighhouse Close, Hunter Street (upper and lower), Oakshaw and School Wynd, a total of 186 spaces and approximately 20% of the council’s off-street parking spaces.

New parking meters are being installed in each of the six car parks which will now accept both coin and contactless payment.

Every vehicle will still need to display a ticket, but free parking will be available for their first three hours after 10am, Monday to Saturday – after which charges will apply.

Whilst not part of our Free for Three Campaign, Renfrewshire Council has decided that charges are being reintroduced on a Saturday in all council-owned car parks, with the six pilot car parks having the first three hours free, as analysis has shown a lack of availability of spaces in the town centre with people using it as a park and ride facility.

Parking will remain free all day on a Sunday in all council-owned spaces.

There is no change to on-street parking charges, with evening and weekend parking remaining free, and the car park at Renfrewshire House will remain available for free on evenings and weekends.

The pilot scheme is scheduled to run for six months and feedback from businesses will be crucial to our campaign to have Free for Three rolled out across the town centre on a permanent basis.

If you would like to be part of our business feedback group, helping us to collect data on the effectiveness of Free for Three for your business, then please get in touch with the Paisley First team as soon as possible.

In the meantime if you have any other queries please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0141 237 8120, email ask@paisleyfirst.com or pop into the Paisley First office at 1 County Place.

 

Renfrewshire Council Press Release:

Free parking in Paisley town centre pilot set to get underway

Visitors to Paisley will soon be able to take advantage of three hours free parking in the town centre as part of a pilot to test the impact on local businesses and encourage people to spend their money locally.

From Monday 29 July, motorists will be able to park in six of the town centre’s car parks without being charged for the first three hours of their stay as part of a pilot to assess the impact on local trade.

Free for Three

Brought forward by the Paisley Town Centre Car Parking Working Group, the six-month pilot will identify if a period of free parking will increase footfall in the town centre and entice people to stay local.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, Chair of the Working Group, said: “Paisley town centre has so much to offer and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to visit and spend their money locally.

“We’ve been working closely with local businesses and partners to identify how the council can best provide its support and they’ve identified that a period of three hours parking could boost footfall in the town and increase trade within their businesses.

“It’s hoped that it will encourage people to stay local and while this obviously comes with a significant financial implication for the council in terms of loss of income and inputting new parking meters, we’re happy to explore ideas brought forward by our partners and the local community.

“The pilot will be evaluated after six months and we’ll assess the impact it has had and identify the next steps.

“We’re aiming to make it as smooth a transition as possible for everyone so please check our website for all the details, including a list of helpful FAQs.”

The Paisley Town Centre Car Parking Working Group is made up of elected members and officers from Renfrewshire Council, Paisley First, local public transport operators and local private car parking operators – and the pilot is the product of regular meetings to discuss positive plans for Paisley town centre.

Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “Free for Three is a crucial campaign for the future of the business community we represent in Paisley town centre and those who visit or would like to visit the town on a more frequent basis.

“With visitor attractions such as Paisley Museum and Paisley Town Hall now closed for refurbishment, it is crucial that the impacts felt by local businesses as a result are mitigated against.

“The public response to our Free for Three campaign has been fantastic and showed that many more people would visit Paisley to shop and socialise if there was an element of free parking on offer.

“We are looking forward to working with the council and our local businesses on maximising the opportunities that the parking pilot can bring to Paisley town centre.”

The six car parks involved in the pilot are Orchard Street, Weighhouse Close, Hunter Street (upper and lower), Oakshaw and School Wynd, a total of 186 spaces and approximately 20% of the council’s off-street parking spaces.

New parking meters are being installed in each of the six car parks which will accept both coin and contactless payment.

Every vehicle will still need to display a ticket, but free parking will be available for their first three hours after 10am, Monday to Saturday – after which charges will apply.

Charges are being reintroduced on a Saturday in all council-owned car parks, with the six pilot car parks having the first three hours free, as analysis has shown a lack of availability of spaces in the town centre with people using it as a park and ride facility.

Parking will remain free all day on a Sunday in all council-owned spaces.

There is no change to on-street parking charges, with evening and weekend parking remaining free, and the car park at Renfrewshire House will remain available for free on evenings and weekends.

For more information and a full list of FAQs, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/parking.

paisley haloween parade 2020
Renfrewshire community groups are being invited to take centre stage at Paisley’s Halloween Festival…by joining the spooktacular parade.

paisley haloween parade 2020

The award-winning festival – the biggest of its kind in Scotland and one of the UK’s must-see Halloween events – will take over Paisley town centre on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October.

The event – run by Renfrewshire Council – is being supported by EventScotland as part of their National Programme funding, which will allow an extended programme of outdoor performances.

Last year’s festival was the biggest yet – with 34,000 visitors to Paisley and worth more than £1.9m to the local economy.

paisley haloween parade 2020

This year’s event will have a theme of ‘dark circus’ – with the parade co-ordinated by internationally-acclaimed performance specialists Cirque Bijou, who want school and community groups to work with them in the run-up to the event and take part in the parade on the day.

They are looking for people to take part in carnival workshops and street theatre, dance and musical performances. Any interested groups should contact events@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Julian Bracey, artistic director of Cirque Bijou, said: “We are really excited to be part of this year’s celebrations. We have some amazing workshop leaders and are looking for local schools, groups and individuals to work with to make this years festival the spookiest yet.”

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of marketing, communications and events, said: “We are proud of how our Halloween Festival has grown to become the biggest of its kind in Scotland and an event with UK-wide profile.

“But we are also proud of the way it allows the many talented community and youth groups in Renfrewshire to work with and be inspired by artists of national standing. Our local groups will love working with the talented team at Cirque Bijou and help make this year’s parade as colourful and lively a spectacle as ever.”

The full programme for this year’s festival is currently being finalised and will be announced in August – along with changes to the event site for this year.

The Halloween Festival is one of the top dates within Renfrewshire’s major events programme, which brought 160,000 attendees and a £4.7m economic impact into the area in 2018 alone.

For more information on Halloween and all local events, see www.paisley.is

sma shot day 2019

The Sma’ Shot celebration always takes place on the first Saturday in July – to mark the time of year when the weavers and their families would traditionally take their holidays.

This year will be no different – everyone is invited to join the annual party this Saturday 6 July from 12 noon to 5pm. And with almost 50 events taking place across 20 different venues, this year’s celebration promises to be the best yet!

sma shot day 2019

Festivities will get underway at noon as the colourful parade leaves Brodie Park, heading for Paisley Arts Centre led by the tuck of the Charleston Drum. The parade this year will feature local groups, performers, spectacular floats and giant puppets, all co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts.

2019 will also see Sma’ Shot Day return to its roots, quite literally, by moving to the streets around the historic Sma’ Shot Cottages in Paisley’s town centre; with Shuttle Street, New Street, Witherspoon Street and Brown’s Lane all set to come alive with music, theatre, poetry, crafts and lots of family-friendly activities.

sma shot day 2019

Amongst these activities there will of course be the Burning of the Cork (1.20pm within the grounds of Paisley Arts Centre) which sees the ‘Corks’ – the middlemen between the owners and the weavers – meet their fate at the hands of the working weavers in spectacular fashion. Right2Dance will deliver a short pre-Burning of the Cork performance with live music in front of Paisley Arts Centre at 1.15pm.

sma shot day 2019

Plus, there will be lots of opportunities to learn a new craft at a series of artists workshops taking place all over Paisley. Follow the Creative Craft Trail for mural painting, jewellery making, embroidery and loads more.

The Sma’ Shot Cottages will also be open 12 noon til 5pm for your chance to see what life was really like for the weavers in the 19th century. Catch a guided tour and watch live weaving demonstrations with Paisley Museum’s textiles expert, Dan Coughlan. We also recommend a trip to Paisley Thread Mill Museum to complete your weaving experience on the industry’s most celebrated day of the year.

Download the Paisley.is handy event map and start planning your day!