A proposal to move Paisley Grammar School to a new-build community campus on the town’s Renfrew Road is going before councillors for approval next week.

Renfrewshire Council last year ran a six-week consultation where the school community and general public were asked their views on the plan for a new school on the former Chivas site.

And members of the council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board will next week consider the contents of the consultation – and whether to agree to move the school.

The current Paisley Grammar building has been assessed as in need of improvement, and the current site on Glasgow Road doesn’t allow room to expand.

A new community campus would let pupils and staff to move to modern accommodation with outdoor areas, state-of-the-art technology, and high-quality media, drama and sports facilities not possible on the current site.

The formal consultation allowed the public to have their say online, via letter, or through one of two virtual public meetings, where senior officers answered questions from the public.

All questions received and answers given were published on the council website and attached to the report going to members of the board to consider before they meet on 21 January.

The results demonstrated overall support for the proposals and officers have recommended councillors give the green light to the move.

Officers from Education Scotland examined the consultation and concluded the proposal ‘has clear educational benefits’ and ‘the potential to provide a high-quality learning environment’.

Some parents raised concerns over traffic at the proposed site, which the council would work with all concerned to find solutions for.

It was confirmed in December Paisley Grammar was one of 25 schools across Scotland to receive funding from the Scottish Government’s £1bn Learning Estate Investment Programme, which – along with money already set aside by the council – would help fund the new building.

Councillor Jim Paterson, convener of the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “It is a big priority for us to make sure all our pupils are learning in the best possible setting.

“The current Paisley Grammar building has served the town well for generations but is now outdated. We have had to look at other ways to provide the type of modern accommodation and facilities which will give pupils the best chance to reach their potential.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the public consultation last year and can assure you all views expressed have been taken into account. It will be for councillors to carefully consider all those comments and make a decision on whether to approve the proposals.”

Should the proposal be approved next week, council officers would start work on the next stages of the work. It is estimated any new school wouldn’t be complete until at least 2025.

Sma Shot after 2

A £4.5m project to restore some of Paisley town centre’s historic architecture to its former glory has now completed work at several prominent sites on and around the town’s High Street.

The Townscape Heritage/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (TH.CARS2) has been delivering a programme of building and outdoor streetscape improvements since 2017, and will run until 2022.

Sma Shot after 2

The project – funded and delivered by Renfrewshire Council with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland – covers a defined area within Paisley town centre around the High Street, New Street and Shuttle Street.

It includes grants for building owners to part-fund the costs of restoring and improving the town’s unique architecture. And the results of the team’s work throughout 2020 can now be seen at:

41 HS Upper - 3 after works

– a building repair project on the upper floors of the C-listed 41 High Street (above Right Way Credit Union), with major stone repair. A separate project will start in the new year and will improve the ground-floor shopfront;

– extensive improvements to the town’s much-loved Sma’ Shot Cottages – the volunteer-run museum and visitor attraction in Shuttle Street – recently repainted with conservation-grade paint along with repointing works, stone repairs, new doors and repairs to the windows, gutters and roof;

41 HS Upper - 2

– a transformation of the outside of the Print and Copy It shop at 61c High Street, which replaced the previous shopfront with a new and much improved traditional-style one;

This is the fifth historic shopfront to be restored, with work already complete at 30 A and B High St (White Cart Co and Renfrewshire Witch Hunt Experience), 36 High St (the Shelter shop), and 44 High St (Uptown Barbers).

61C HS SF After Image_Day

Work is also due to be completed before Christmas to preserve and improve the historic streetscape in George Place – restoring the cobbled street by reusing original granite setts and kerbs and adding quality Caithness paving.

61C Before Image

Further improvements to other historic buildings and shopfronts are planned for next year.

Running alongside the building-improvement work is a programme of cultural and educational activity aimed at raising awareness of the town’s heritage, including a schools weaving project, a documentary on Paisley’s Mill Girls, and a drama project on Paisley’s role in the 1820 Radical War.

Sma Shot Cottages during

The current TH.CARS work follows a similar scheme which saw major improvements to buildings and streetscape in the Causeyside Street area between 2009 and 2016.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley town centre’s architectural legacy is one of the finest to be found anywhere in the country, with Scotland’s second-highest concentration of listed buildings.

“The TH.CARS2 scheme has been doing great work to preserve that by helping owners bring historic buildings which have fallen into disrepair back into use, while improving the look of others by restoring original architectural features.

“That investment has two more years to run and will help make the town centre a more attractive place to live, work and invest during what we know has been a challenging time for traders.

“It is great to see a number of projects have been completed in recent months and I look forward to seeing more go on site over the next year.”

For more information on the project, see www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Landmark locations at the heart of Renfrew and Johnstone town centres are being lit up – as part of a collection of projects aimed at bringing new life to Renfrewshire’s town centres.

The projects have been delivered by Renfrewshire Council using the area’s share of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, intended to improve town centres across the country by encouraging new investment and uses for vacant buildings and spaces.

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Renfrewshire initially received £1.46m from the fund in 2019, for which a series of projects in Renfrew, Johnstone, Paisley and Erskine were put into action, with some now complete.

A further £527,000 was allocated earlier this year when the government added extra money to the fund to help town centres bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

bascule1

Projects which have already been delivered or are nearing completion include:

– new and improved lighting around Renfrew Town Hall and Johnstone’s Houstoun Square. The same fund also paid for new Christmas lights in Johnstone, with the additions to Renfrew Town Hall complementing recent investment in the town’s festive displays through the Renfrew Common Good Fund;

– new lighting added to Renfrew’s Bascule Bridge, with work to add new lighting, wayfinding and CCTV to Robertson Park now partly-complete and due to be finished in the spring;

– work to tidy up the gap site at the corner of Johnstone’s High St and McDowall St;

– refurbishments to vacant shop units at George Street, Paisley, and High Street and McDowall St in Johnstone, plus external improvements to vacant shop units at Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent;

– a new storage area for commercial waste at 55 High St, Paisley;

Johnstone 8.12.20-6776

The fund is also being used to provide grants to three local community groups to support ongoing work to bring vacant buildings back into use. Each of the following projects is expected to be complete by the end of 2021:

– PACE Theatre’s plans to refurbish Paisley’s former Mannequins nightclub to create a new theatre, called Exchange;

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

– the conversion of the former toilet block in Renfrew’s Robertson Park into a cycle hub by Kustom Kruisers;

Bascule Bridge - Purple

The council’s leadership board this month also approved a list of additional projects for the second tranche of money to go on, which included:

– a grant to allow the Erskine Arts charity to set up a base within Erskine Leisure Centre;

– funding to extend the council’s Start-up Street hub for new creative businesses to Renfrew as a new use for the vacant units in Dunlop Crescent;

– outdoor improvements to Paisley’s Shuttle St to help support the hospitality businesses in the street, including new a canopy of lighting and a new bin store area

– additional funding for an already-planned refurbishment of upper-floor tenements at 3 County Place, Paisley – a prominent building facing Gilmour St station which has fallen into disrepair;

Robertson Park II December 2020

As the additional money needs to be committed by March 2021, the projects above were chosen as ones which had already been scoped out and could go on site in the next few months.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Ensuring our town centres are attractive places for people to live, work and invest is a big priority for the council.

“We are very mindful how hard the past year has been for town centres everywhere – we are determined to do all we can to support our traders and communities and this support from the Scottish Government is very welcome.

“We carefully considered which projects would be eligible for the funding and would have the most impact in terms of attracting new uses and investment across all our town centres.

Robertson Park December 2020

“The work has been happening since last year and we are delighted people are now starting to see the results of it – with the new lighting in Renfrew and Johnstone being the most eye-catching of the projects, and ones which have been well-received.

“And there will be plenty more for people to look forward to in 2021 as projects to bring vacant buildings back into use and improve the look of our outdoor spaces are completed.”

Residents are being encouraged to recycle effectively this Christmas to help deal with the extra packaging and food waste that comes with the festive period.

Renfrewshire Council is asking residents to use all of their recycling bins correctly and as fully as possible, with recycling a key part in ensuring there is enough space for rubbish in between collections.

The council’s top tips include:

  • Flatten all cardboard boxes to create room in your blue bin
  • Left over festive food should go into the brown bin or food caddy – you’ll be surprised how much space that will save in your grey bin
  • Whether it’s mulled wine or a hot toddy, any cans or bottles should go into your green bin
  • Paper, card and cardboard is your blue bin, but polystyrene and plastic wrapping is your grey bin
  • Has it got glitter or foil? Then it’s not recyclable.
  • Tinsel, baubles and fairy lights go into your black bin as they can’t be recycled.
  • Recycle your real Christmas tree from 4 to 10 January at Barshaw, Lochwinnoch, Barwood and Thomas Shanks Public Parks, or at the recycling centre at Underwood Road.

Renfrewshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres are open as normal every day for residents to dispose of any extra waste that Christmas brings, except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when they are closed.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We all know the amount of packaging and food waste that Christmas can bring so it’s important that we get rid of it correctly – and that means recycling.

“If you only use your grey bin, then you’ll run out of space quickly over the festive period so make sure your recycling bins are used to full effect and correctly as contamination ruins all your hard work.

“It’s important that we recognise the impact that waste can have on our environment so please let’s work together to recycle as much as possible this Christmas.

“Our recycling centres are open almost every day throughout the festive period, so please use these too if you find Santa’s been extra good to you this year.”

The bin collection service in Renfrewshire is running as normal throughout the period, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when residents will have a different collection.

Grey, brown and food waste bins will be collected on 26 December and 2 January instead, while blue and green recycling bins will be collected on 27 December and 3 January.

Properties with shared bins such as flats and commercial customers will have their bins collected one day earlier than normal from 21 December, with collections returning to normal from 4 January. This excludes food waste collections which will remain the same except from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, where they will be collected one day later.

All other bin collections will see no change and be collected as normal.

For more information on bin collection or recycling in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins or email ei@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Paisley Grammar-high-res

Funding towards building a new state-of-the-art community campus to replace the existing Paisley Grammar School has been welcomed by Renfrewshire Council’s Education Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson.

The Scottish Government has announced that Paisley Grammar School is one of 25 schools across Scotland to receive funding from phase two of the £1bn Learning Estate Investment Programme.

Paisley Grammar-high-res

The committed funding from Scottish Government will be added to committed funding from the council towards building a new school with state-of-the-art technology, enhanced drama, performance, media and learning facilities and high-quality sports and outdoor areas.

Cllr Paterson said: “The announcement of additional funding for a Paisley Grammar Community Campus is very welcome. It’s good to know this funding is available to draw from if councillors approve the relocation proposals.

“Ensuring that all children and young people have the best learning environment possible is vital to ensure every pupil has the facilities and opportunities to reach their potential.”

The former Chivas site on Renfrew Road remains the preferred site to relocate the school. Parents pupils and the wider school community were consulted on proposals to relocate the school to this site in October this year.

Their responses, along with a recommendation to proceed, will go to councillors at the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board for consideration. If they approve the proposals, work will begin to take them forward.

Cllr Paterson added: “Councillors will carefully consider all the responses received from the school community early next year.”

To read the full consultation, visit www.renfrewshire,gov.uk/PaisleyGrammarConsultation on the council’s website.

Renfrewshire House

Proposals for a major investment programme which will transform council housing in Renfrewshire over the next decade have been given the go-ahead.

The Regeneration and Renewal Programme will invest at least £100million in council housing over the next 10 years.

Renfrewshire House

The programme will create around 300 newbuild homes and deliver improvements to existing housing in eight areas in Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew in its first phase.

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk said: “This programme is a key part of our plans to help Renfrewshire recover and flourish following this pandemic. Having a safe, warm and affordable home is so important for the health and wellbeing of people.

“This programme will support our communities and help tackle fuel poverty as well as help achieve our climate change goals. No-one should have to live in fuel poverty and we know that the pandemic has made this situation worse for some people. We will address this by improving the energy efficiency of our homes within these regeneration areas, creating a better Renfrewshire for our communities.

“Covid-19 has had a major impact on our communities in Renfrewshire. It has also shown more than ever how important community is. We will be consulting and engaging with communities before finalising our plans for each area to ensure the work we are doing meets their needs and creates thriving places they can flourish in and be proud of for years to come.”

Phase one of the programme will focus on homes in Moorpark (Renfrew), Thrushcraigs (Paisley), Broomlands (Paisley) Howwood Road (Johnstone), Waverley Road (Paisley), Howard Street (Paisley), Auchentorlie/Seedhill (Paisley) and Springbank Road (Paisley). Proposals for a second phase will be developed in 2021.

The council will consult and engage with communities to develop comprehensive regeneration and renewal plans which will be individually tailored to meet the needs of each area.

The regeneration and renewal programme will build on the success of the Scottish Housing Quality Standard Programme, which invested £147million in council housing in Renfrewshire between 2010 and 2015. It will also sit alongside the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan which, in partnership with housing associations, will create around 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2022, including over 200 new Council houses.

It is part of the Council’s two-year economic and social recovery plan which will help Renfrewshire thrive in the wake of Covid-19. The plan was prepared in consultation with Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel and approved at a Council meeting today (Thursday 17 December).

The transformational programme will also create job and training opportunities in Renfrewshire and support the Council’s work to achieve its climate change targets by addressing fuel poverty and improving the energy efficiency performance of homes in these regeneration areas.

More than 3,500 homes in Renfrewshire have already had external insulation fitted after the council received £18.4million through the Scottish Government’s HEEPS:ABS funding programme. This work is estimated to have reduced Renfrewshire’s carbon output by 250,000 tonnes.

The Council, which is landlord to 12,000 homes in Renfrewshire, is already working to deliver over 400 newbuild council houses in areas including Johnstone Castle, Ferguslie Park and South West Johnstone and recently completed a project in Bishopton.

For more information about the programme, email strategyandplace@renfrewshire.gov.uk or call 0300 300 0222.

provost community awards

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron is searching for community heroes across Renfrewshire as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2021. 

provost community awards

This year there are seven categories to nominate in, including a new category to recognise businesses who have adapted to ensure their survival during the Covid19 pandemic. You can nominate anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire for the following categories:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)
  • Ingenuity in Business (sponsored by Provost Lorraine Cameron)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This year has been unlike any other and it’s important that we pay tribute to the local unsung heroes who keep our communities going.

“We have recently heard of the sad death of former Provost Nancy Allison, who established the very first awards in 1997, and I know, for certain, that Nancy would have been very happy that I have decided to go ahead this year, despite the pandemic.  She knew how important it was to recognise the big hearted people who support their communities and that is why we continue with these awards year after year.

“Earlier this year I awarded certificates to those who I know have gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic, but these awards are different – they come from the community themselves. Now it is your chance to tell me about the hard work that these groups and individuals do.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have an event this year to celebrate these achievements, but we will make sure the winners are announced online and through other media channels. I know there are some fantastic people out there who really deserve to be recognised and I can’t wait to read your nominations.”

The deadline for entries to all categories is Friday 29 January 2021.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards2021, or email provostawards@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Local residents are being reminded that bin collections in Renfrewshire will change over the festive period with no collections taking place on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

New collection calendars have been sent to every home in Renfrewshire advising of the change to the normal schedule, so all residents with a Friday collection should be aware of their adjusted date.

Collections due on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day will take place one day later for grey, brown and food bins, and two days later for blue and green recycling bins.

Scheduled collections for properties with shared bins will take place one day earlier from Monday 21 December and will return to normal from Monday 4 January. Collection of food waste at these properties will remain unchanged, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when they will be collected one day later.

Some rural properties have their bins collected one day behind schedule between 26 December and 5 January, but this will be outlined in the resident’s collections calendar if they are affected.

Collections due on any other day over the festive period will take place as normal.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “Firstly, I would like to take this chance to thank all our collection teams for their work over the festive period as it really is appreciated by everyone in Renfrewshire.

“We know how important collections are at this time of year and our teams will be working extremely hard to ensure that all bins are uplifted, so if you’re due a collection on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, then please make sure you know when to put it out instead.

“If you have any questions or are unsure about your festive collections, please get in touch with the team via ei@renfrewshire.gov.uk or 0300 300 0380 so we can ensure you present your bin on the correct day.”

For more information on bin collections, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins</a

The first pilot of lateral-flow testing in Scotland at a fixed site has concluded with more than 5,000 local people tested over the course of eight days.

Designed to identify asymptomatic people in the community (those without any symptoms), the quick and simple swab test was open to anyone who lived, worked or went to school in Johnstone.

Test results were returned in around 45 minutes and anyone found to be positive was asked to complete a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result, before being provided with the appropriate support to complete their period of self-isolation.

The testing centre ran at Johnstone Town Hall for 12 hours each day and was delivered and operated by Renfrewshire Council. This was the only fixed site for this type of testing in the country and involved more than 100 staff from the council and its partners.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, said: “I’m so proud of the people of Johnstone for taking part in this pilot as we look to learn more about the virus, how to combat it and stop its transmission.

“More than 5,000 people is a fantastic turnout and the selflessness of local people will help inform the future decisions made by the UK and Scottish Government – so we really have played our part in the Coronavirus response.

“Thank you to all that took a test over the past eight days and also to the fantastic staff who ran the testing centre safely and efficiently and ensured that the pilot can be considered a success.”

All testing figures, including positive, negative and void tests, have been reported to the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland who will now assess and verify the figures before publication.

For more information on the pilot, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test-Johnstone.

 

Renfrewshire

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our health, our wellbeing, our communities and our economy, but I am confident that by working together, Renfrewshire will recover and renew to come back stronger.”

That’s according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, as he welcomes plans for Renfrewshire’s economic and social recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Renfrewshire

Councillors will consider the ambitious plans next week which aim to create jobs and upskill employees, bolster business, invest in housing, tackle inequalities and improve the lives of people living and working in Renfrewshire.

Stark statistics within the reports lay bare the impact of the pandemic in Renfrewshire, with 293 local people having lost their lives.

The number of people claiming benefits rose by 80% at the height of the virus, while 6,000 crisis grant applications have been received, thousands have been supported through neighbourhood hubs and local community groups and Renfrewshire Foodbank has helped more than 4,000 adults and children.

Furlough support for Renfrewshire employees is estimated to equate to £115million and self-income support to almost £10million.

 

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Councillor Nicolson said: “The pandemic has impacted on all parts of daily life and in some cases exacerbated existing vulnerabilities or created new difficulties. Many people and businesses have been impacted, through bereavement, loss of income, isolation and loneliness.

“Since the outset, Council staff have been working tirelessly together with community groups and local volunteers as well as with national agencies to support people during these unprecedented times, and the collective response has been phenomenal.

“This work continues and while the true impact of the pandemic will take time to fully emerge, we have been carrying out detailed research and together with community groups, local businesses and economic leaders, we have been preparing our plans for recovery and renewal.”

The two-year economic recovery plan has been prepared with, and approved by, Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, which pools business expertise from major local employers and skills and enterprise agencies.

It is underpinned by economic analysis by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute and by a summer survey of 500 local companies, with further data being collected next spring following the end of the furlough scheme and the Brexit transition period.

Detailing 14 priority actions the panel believe will make the biggest difference locally, the report focuses on support for business, young people, wellbeing, skills and employability, fostering a green recovery and on capital investment.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The building blocks of Renfrewshire’s economy have been consistently strong for some time and there are significant opportunities for growth after the pandemic with a strong business base, excellent educational facilities and £500million in capital investment well under way.

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

“We will build on this by creating jobs and training opportunities for our young people, including 150 new apprenticeships, with targeted projects to tackle unemployment and reduce health inequalities, and measures to bolster the skills and innovation of our significant manufacturing sector. To achieve this plan, all partner agencies will have a key role to play and by combining our knowledge and expertise, we can achieve so much more.”

Tackling inequalities is at the heart of the developing social renewal plan for Renfrewshire, which is being prepared through a public survey of 1,500 people combined with ‘listening events’ with community groups during winter 2020, to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and involve local people in identifying solutions to the issues they face.

Council Depute Leader Jim Paterson said: “Local people and communities continue to experience significant impacts on their lives resulting from the pandemic and sadly the initial findings suggest it is most affecting people on low incomes and in insecure employment, in particular women and young people.

“The social renewal plan will act as the blueprint for how we will work with our partners to learn from the pandemic and build on this experience to tackle the inequalities that exist in our communities.”

Councillors will also be asked to approve plans for at least £100million of additional investment over the next 10 years in Council housing across Renfrewshire, with the first phase targeting investment to eight areas across Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew.

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk said: “Coronavirus has underlined the importance of our home on our wellbeing and the need to live within a supportive community environment.

“This planned investment will provide a step-change in housing conditions for Council tenants by enhancing properties inside and out, making them more energy efficient and creating safe, welcoming neighbourhoods.

“At each location, we will develop comprehensive regeneration place plans, engaging with tenants and the wider community to create places to be proud of through a mix of improvements and new homes, this approach will continue the recent investment by the council and housing associations which will see more than 1,000 affordable homes completed by 2022.”