Paisley, Renfrewshire Category

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson - high-res

Renfrewshire business leaders will recommend a strategy to support the region’s future economic success this autumn.

Members of the region’s Economic Leadership Panel have been working together on the proposals which will underpin the approach over the coming years.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson - high-res

The panel was set up in 2017 drawing from leaders across the private and public sector, enterprise agencies and education and skills experts.

This brings together major local employers including Glasgow Airport, Hillington Park, Intu Braehead and DXC Technology, as well as SMEs and microbusiness, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, West College Scotland and the University of the West of Scotland.

“I’m incredibly proud of what Renfrewshire has to offer locally, nationally and internationally,” explains Economic Leadership Panel Chair James Lang, Director of Bridge of Weir-based Scottish Leather Group.

“There’s a strong collective pride in our place across the panel and we are all determined to deliver a bright future for Renfrewshire. The panel has been looking at the key sectors to the region and identifying how we make Renfrewshire a prosperous place to live, visit, work and invest, a place which leaves no-one behind.

“Once we present these plans for the council’s consideration, that is just the beginning. For the strategy to succeed everyone will need to play their part and having this panel ensures we can keep communicating, evaluating and adjusting the strategy as we move forward.”

James Lang

Panel members have been considering how to grow key sectors of the local economy. This includes manufacturing, which already accounts for one-fifth of the area’s economic output and employs 9000 people, with the potential for significant growth to make Renfrewshire one of the largest locations for manufacturing industries in the UK.

The strategy will also set out how Renfrewshire can improve its competitiveness and capitalise on £1.4billion being invested in world-class research and development facilities, infrastructure and skills, while thousands of new homes being built here will support growing the working age population.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We have high levels of employment in Renfrewshire and have committed substantial investment to grow the economy, creating new neighbourhoods to live in, new jobs to work in and new places to visit. Combined with our proud heritage, as a place rich in creativity and innovation, we have fantastic foundations to build upon.

“We face significant challenges and barriers too, not least areas of persistent poverty and we know that the only way to achieve inclusive economic growth is through collaboration and by listening to what our communities tell us they need.

“I look forward to seeing the strategy brought forward for the council’s consideration later in the year and know that working together we can ensure a thriving Renfrewshire.”

renfrew centre

Town centres across Renfrewshire are to receive a £1.46m cash boost – the bulk of which could transform key sites in the heart of Johnstone and Renfrew.

The sum was made available to the area earlier this year as part of the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Capital Fund – aimed at bringing vacant buildings back into use, improving infrastructure and supporting community-led regeneration.

renfrew centre

And councillors on the leadership board will this week be asked to approve a list of suggested projects for where the money will be spent.

That includes a total of around £750k for three projects helping community groups bring vacant buildings back to life:

– to help Active Communities bring the former police station in Johnstone’s Quarry Street back into use as a community hub;

– to help PACE Youth Theatre move forward with their ongoing work to create a new performance base for their 2,000 students and performers in a vacant property in Paisley;

– to support a social enterprise to turn the former toilet block in Renfrew’s Robertson Park into a cycle hub;

johnstone centre

Other proposed projects include around £460k for town centre presentation and travel links:

– investment in CCTV, lighting and wayfinding in Renfrew’s Robertson Park to boost the use of the town centre park in the evenings, and help connect the town centre and nearby neighbourhoods to the Paisley/Renfrew Riverside cycle network;

– money for lighting improvements to the areas around Johnstone’s Houstoun Square and Renfrew’s town hall and cenotaph, to improve the night-time environment;

– to repurpose vacant shop units in Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent to create a council-run hub for business start-ups;

– funding for gap sites in Johnstone, focussed on the area around High St/George St/MacDowall St;

The remaining £250k will be used as a fund to support the refurbishment and reuse of vacant town centre properties across all town centres.

It was decided to prioritise Johnstone and Renfrew for the funding – as Paisley is already benefiting from major investment, and there are limited numbers of projects in Erskine or Linwood town centres that would have been eligible for the fund.

If approved work could get under way soon on all of the above – the funding is to be used in the financial year 2020/21, with work to have started or be agreed in the current year.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Town centres are vital to the way we live and identify with our places but this funding recognises that recent years have been tough for towns.

“The rise of the internet and out-of-town retail have changed how people shop, and left empty buildings and sites in towns everywhere – so town centres need to evolve if they are to thrive.

“This funding is aimed at making that happen by helping bring buildings back into a condition where new uses can be found for them, and make towns more attractive for people to spend time – and the projects we are proposing will do that.

“Paisley is already benefitting from £100m of investment in venues and outdoor spaces – including transformations of its museum and town hall – which will build on the work already being done to make it one of Scotland’s key destinations for culture and events.

“This fund will help bring some of the same benefits to Johnstone and Renfrew and elsewhere, while also supporting some very good community-led regeneration projects.”

Coats Memorial

THE campaign to save an iconic Scottish building for future generations has received a major funding boost.

An overseas benefactor has stepped in with a six figure donation after visiting Thomas Coats Memorial, the former church in the centre of Paisley.

coats support

Locally based sculptor Alexander Stoddart is working on a statue for one of Harlan Crow’s properties in the USA. During a visit to the sculptor’s studios, Mr Crow was invited to visit Coats Memorial.

He was so impressed that his donation of £100,000 will boost the fund raising effort to create a multi-purpose venue in the threatened Grade A listed building.

Ian Henderson, chairman of Coats Memorial Preservation Trust, said: “We showed Mr Crow, who is a keen supporter of the arts, round Coats Memorial and he was hugely impressed not only with the building but also with our plans to preserve it as a multi-purpose venue to be used by the local community.”

Alexander Stoddart is the Queen’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland and is well known for a wide variety of work including statues of Hume and Playfair in the centre of Edinburgh and Burns and his publisher in Kilmarnock.

Ian Henderson added: “This is a very generous donation that not only takes us much closer to our fundraising target but also gives us a great personal boost. It is wonderful to know that someone from more than 4000 miles away is thinking about Coats Memorial. The donation is fantastic news for the project and for the town.”

Thomas Coats Memorial was designed by Hippolyte Blanc and completed in 1894 for the Coats family who had made their fortune in the thread industry. It was known as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe but dwindling congregations and rising costs led to its closure as a church last year.

It is planned that Coats Memorial will become a venue for weddings, concerts and a wide range of events serving the local community and beyond.

child poverty

Two initiatives designed to tackle child poverty in Renfrewshire have helped boost the incomes of struggling families and households by a total of almost £2million in one year.

Families First, a service that provides low-income households with health and relationship support as well as money and benefits advice, has generated £1,114,234 for 413 struggling families, while Healthier, Wealthier Children put £885,526 in the pockets of new and expectant parents in Renfrewshire between April 2018 and March 2019.

child poverty

Both initiatives receive funding from Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme.

The programme, which was set up in 2014 following the ground-breaking Tackling Poverty Commission, has made significant investment in projects and activities to reduce child poverty, with the council announcing a further £5million funding for the initiative over five years in March 2018.

Projects within the programme are designed to provide support for families that need it most, remove barriers to participation for children and young people, and support health and wellbeing for young people.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are committed to ensuring that all children in Renfrewshire have the best start in life no matter what their background.

“Our Tackling Poverty Programme was the first of its kind in Scotland and the work we have been doing through the programme, in our schools and in partnership with other organisations is making a real difference to the lives of children in Renfrewshire and families who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Families First and the Healthier, Wealthier Children Service are helping ensure low-income families in Renfrewshire have enough money coming in to make their child’s early years the best they can be.”

The figures were released as Renfrewshire Council published its Local Child Poverty Action Report.

The report, which has been developed in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, highlights the work the council and its partners are doing to improve the lives of children in poverty and address the Scottish Government’s three key drivers of child poverty: income from employment, costs of living and income from social security and benefits in kind.

Highlights include:

  • Invest in Renfrewshire’s work to boost the local economy and tackle unemployment, which has led to Renfrewshire’s employment rate being significantly higher than the national average
  • The number of Living Wage accredited employers in Renfrewshire rising to 57
  • The Energy Advocacy Service securing £116,253 in ongoing savings and £103,638 in write-offs for Renfrewshire’s most vulnerable citizens
  • Education Scotland commending the council for its ‘excellent’ progress in closing the poverty related attainment gap in schools

The Council Leader added: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact the work being done to tackle child poverty and improve the lives of children in Renfrewshire is having.

“We still have work to do but if we keep working together with our partners we can continue to make a difference in the lives of families across Renfrewshire.”

Child poverty in Renfrewshire is currently in line with the national average of 24%.

If you are struggling and need support and advice, there are a number of services in Renfrewshire you can contact, including Advice Renfrewshire. For more information, visit http://advicerenfrewshire.org/ or call FREEPHONE 0808 164 2922.

For more information on the Tackling Poverty Programme and Renfrewshire’s Local Child Poverty Action Report, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk.

orchard st

Free weekday parking for up to three hours could soon be available in selected Paisley town centre car parks – if plans for a pilot scheme are approved by councillors later this month.

Proposals have been drafted to test the impact of a partial removal of parking charges – to help inform future decisions over parking in the town centre.

orchard st

If given the green light, the pilot would run for six months from July and see three hours of free parking on weekdays in five town centre car parks – at Weighhouse Close, Hunter Street, Orchard Street, School Wynd and Oakshaw.

Currently, parking is free in all Paisley town centre council-owned bays and spaces at evenings and weekends, but charges apply from Monday to Friday during the day.

The recommendations have been made by the Paisley Town Centre Parking Working Group – which was formed earlier this year and includes councillors, business groups, private car park operators and public transport representatives.

The proposed pilot scheme was created after a request from town centre business improvement district Paisley First, who sit on the working group.

The aim is to generate the data needed to allow the potential benefits to town centre traders to be measured against the financial and logistical implications for the council and private car park operators – which will then be fully evaluated before next steps are agreed.

As part of the pilot scheme, parking charges would be reintroduced on Saturdays – apart from in the five car parks named above (where the free three hours would still be available) and on the ground floor at Renfrewshire House in Cotton St, which would remain free all Saturday.

The reintroduction of Saturday charges was agreed by the working group to discourage people from parking for free in Paisley and travelling by train to Glasgow – and will free up spaces for people visiting local businesses.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The issues surrounding parking in Paisley town centre are complex – but we are keen to work with businesses to find solutions that work for everyone in Renfrewshire.

“A historic town centre with a wide range of uses and users will never be able to offer the same ease of parking as out-of-town development designed around the car.

“We want to bring new life to Paisley – which we are doing through our £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces and successful major events programme.

“That extra footfall will not be delivered by free parking all day, as commuters and workers who are in town anyway would fill the spaces – but time-limited free parking is an idea we are happy to test.

“But there will be a financial cost. Town centre parking brings in considerable revenue which goes into the services we provide to all Renfrewshire tax-payers – and what is being proposed will also require investment in new modern parking meters.

“We need to be able to measure the hoped-for benefits against those financial and logistical costs – and the proposed pilot is designed to let us make an informed decision on what we do in future.”

Councillors on the leadership board will be asked to consider the scheme when they meet on Thursday 19 June as part of a detailed report which reveals the following:

– there are more than 2,100 car parking spaces in Paisley, 1,250 of which are council-controlled, plus hundreds more free spaces on the edge of the town centre;

– the income from on and off-street car parking in the town centre is worth around £1m a year to the council;

– for any Free for Three scheme to work, new modern parking meters are needed – these will require drivers to enter their vehicle registration to stop them moving from one free car parking location to another after three hours. For the proposed pilot, this will cost around £30,000;

– a new Traffic Regulation Order would be needed to change on-street parking arrangements, and this would take up to a year – so the pilot has to be restricted to car parks rather than streets;

– the five car parks in the pilot total 186 spaces, around 15% of the council’s off-street total;

– it is predicted the proposed pilot will cost the council around £200,000 lost income and this will need to be met from within existing resources.

scottish transport awards 1019

Glasgow Airport was named Airport of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards – one of three accolades picked up by the transport hub last night.
The airport also scooped the Accessible Transport Award for its popular special assistance service, which last year ensured more than 121,000 who need additional support while travelling through the terminal enjoyed a safe and pleasant journey. Glasgow also became the biggest airport in Scotland to open its £144,000 state-of-the-art Changing Places facility.

scottish transport awards 1019

Glasgow Airport’s Chaplain Keith Banks, due to retire later this month, received a standing ovation when he was presented with the Lifetime Contribution as a Frontline Employee Award.

Managing Director of Glasgow Airport Mark Johnston said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win the Airport of the Year Award. I firmly believe that our ‘one-campus’ approach, which involves over 5000 hard-working people from more than 100 separate companies across Glasgow Airport, continues to be the driving force behind our unique customer experience. “We put our passengers at the heart of everything we do, so it’s fantastic that the hard work of everyone at Glasgow Airport has been recognised at the Scottish Transport Awards. “Despite this being a challenging period for the airport and the wider industry, we continue to strive to deliver for our passengers and Scotland.

scottish transport awards 1019

The arrival of the iconic A380 aircraft into regular service on the Dubai route earlier this year, which was a first for Scottish aviation, is a fantastic example of our ambition. “I was especially pleased to see our special assistance service recognised through the Accessible Transport Award. We welcome more people who require additional support each year than any other airport in Scotland and a huge amount of endeavour and investment goes into making sure every passenger enjoys a pleasant journey through the terminal. “Finally, I’d like to congratulate our retiring Chaplain Keith Banks for his Lifetime Contribution as a Frontline Employee Award. Keith has served his colleagues and the millions of people we welcome through our doors each year with dedication and distinction.

scottish transport awards 1019

He leaves later this month with our best wishes and upmost gratitude.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson MSP welcomed 450 industry professionals to the event last night to celebrate the people and organisations that make a real difference to transport across Scotland. Hosted by broadcaster James Naughtie, the 17 th annual Scottish Transport Awards once again recognised excellence, innovation and progress across all areas of transport.

arnotts north

New social housing is set to be built on the site of the former Arnotts department store in Paisley, bringing even more new residents into the town centre and its businesses.

Park Lane Developments LLP – the joint venture company which owns the land – is planning to partner with a social landlord to turn the undeveloped north half of the site into 60 flats offering a mix of social, private and shared equity housing.

arnotts north

A report going before the council’s leadership board next week reveals work could start as soon as summer 2020 on what would be the fourth and final phase of development on the site, which was empty for more than a decade after Arnotts shut in 2003.

Since 2014, the listed facade on Gauze St was brought back into use as new apartments and Pendulum restaurant, while Link Housing have opened 31 new flats on Lawn St and are due to finish work on 26 new flats on Smithhills Street by spring 2020.

The joint venture company paused marketing on the north half of the site in June 2018 to allow the Paisley Community Trust to work on a business case for their proposed Baker Street theatre and cinema complex, which they wanted to build on that site. The trust has been given more than £40,000 by Renfrewshire Council to develop their business plans over the years.

The trust recently submitted a proposal to the joint-venture company to buy the site but this no longer included a cinema/theatre being built there. Instead they proposed using adapted shipping containers for temporary uses while they worked on plans and funding for a possible longer-term commercial development.

arnotts north

The joint venture company was of the view this proposal was not a good use for the site in a town which already has a number of vacant commercial units, and did not provide sufficient clarity about how the long-term development would be delivered or funded.

Having considered all options and on the basis demand is likely to be there for a housing development, the joint venture company decided this would deliver the greatest benefit for the people of the town. The trust have now withdrawn their proposal for the site.

The council has been working with the Paisley Community Trust since 2014 to help them develop their plans for a cinema – and will continue to do so by helping them find other sites and vacant buildings in the town centre which could be brought back into use.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “These proposals will finally, after 16 years, fill the largest gap site in the town centre and one visible to millions of rail passengers a year at the gateway to the town.

“Crucially, it will also see a large number of new residents living in the heart of Paisley and spending their money in the neighbouring businesses day and night, all-year round – encouraging new business to open and supporting the ones already here.

“The same is true of the other housing developments currently taking place in and around the town centre – such as on the former Carnegie’s nightclub site, at St Mirren’s former Love St home, in Wellmeadow Street, on the former Ciba-Geigy site on Hawkhead Road and more.

“Our £100m investment in venues and outdoor spaces shows the ambition we have for Paisley in terms of bringing new life and footfall here. The above shows that work is now creating conditions in which the private sector wants to invest.”

Park Lane Developments LLP was set up in 2009 to buy and oversee the development of the Arnotts site and is a limited-liability partnership between Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow-based commercial property firm Park Lane Developments.

mirren house

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We offer very competitive terms and if you wish to relocate we would be delighted to provide you further information or arrange a viewing.

Please feel free to give us a call 0141 843 4211 or contact us by email mail@dpgroup.org.uk.

CarFest

St. Vincent’s Hospice is bringing its hugely popular CarFest into Paisley town centre once again this Saturday, 15th June, and a fun day out for all the family is guaranteed!Paisley First

There will be classic, vintage and specialist custom cars on show, as well as muscle cars, supercars, and emergency vehicles, not to mention motorbikes!

CarFest

As well as treats for motor enthusiasts, there will be plenty of family-friendly fun with fairground rides, children’s entertainment, live music, stalls, tombola, and a prize raffle!

This is the sixth year of St. Vincent’s CarFest and its third visit to the town centre with all funds raised on the day supporting St. Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood

The event is organised by MaxSafe and sponsored by Paisley First.

The cars will be on show from 10 am until 4 pm so come along and join us for a great day out in Paisley this Saturday!

CarFest

reading

CHILDREN can rocket into space without leaving the ground if they take part in this year’s Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge.

Young book readers from aged four to 11 will be landing at libraries all over Renfrewshire to borrow books for free and take part in the challenge.

reading

And there will be out-of-this-world prizes for everyone who borrows and reads six books of their choice during the school summer holidays.

Local libraries will also be staging various events and activities based on this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme of the Space Chase.

The initiative, from Renfrewshire Libraries, in association with The Reading Agency is aimed at encouraging young people to read more books. It runs from June 17 to August 17 and children are being encouraged to head for their local library to sign up for the challenge.

reading

As the children finish reading each book they are given a sticker for their Space Chase folder and as they completed their challenge they will receive a free badminton pass and swim pass for Renfrewshire Leisure sports centres and swimming pools.

And thanks to big-hearted local businessman, Paul McGrath, who is managing director of Consilium Contracting Services, one lucky winner from each library who completes the challenge will receive a pair of cinema tickets. Paul has sponsored the Summer Reading Challenge locally for the past three years.

The Summer Reading Challenge will be taking place in libraries throughout Renfrewshire, including the temporary library beside The Lagoon Leisure Centre, in Paisley, which offers a whole range of services such as Bookbug, after school children’s activities, digital skills support and public access to computers.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is an exciting way to inspire children to have a love of books and to read more.

“We’ll do more than just encourage the children to read books as they’ll have lots of fun with the different space-themed activities in our libraries.

“And they’ll also be rewarded for reading books and completing the challenge with some stellar prizes.”