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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.

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:

– 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;

– 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).

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.

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.

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

Work has started on a £600k investment to restore the architectural gems of one of Paisley’s key historic quarters – including repairs to the town’s much-loved Sma’ Shot Cottages visitor attraction.

The work was made possible by the Renfrewshire-Council-run five-year £4.5m Townscape Heritage/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, which aims to repair historic buildings, shopfronts and outdoor spaces throughout the town centre.

The TH/CARS2 programme is working with the property owners to deliver three projects in the Shuttle Street/George Place area over the next few months. They are:

– the Sma’ Shot cottages – two buildings of massive historical significance for Paisley and Renfrewshire taking visitors back in time with a unique insight into the area’s textile heritage. The work includes building, stone and roof repairs, new doors and window grilles, and repainting;

– conservation work including roof and stone repairs and new traditional windows for the Category B-listed 5 George Place, a fine example of a mid-Georgian townhouse;

– work to improve the outdoor streetscape along George Place and around the side of the cottages, with new Caithness slab paving and relaid cobbles on the road;

Contractors are already on site at the Sma’ Shot Cottages and work is expected to start on the two George Place projects in the coming weeks.

TH/CARS2 is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the council. The bulk of the work is funded through grants from the programme but also includes a six-figure total contribution from the building owners.

Some of the volunteers from the Old Paisley Society, the charity which owns and operates the Sma’ Shot Cottages, were on hand to mark the start of the work, dressed in traditional costume.

Cath Mitchell, chair of the Old Paisley Society, said: “We open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 April through to September and we get visitors from all over the world.

“With TH/CARS2 we are getting the front painted and so many more things done and it will help preserve the wonderful history we have here.”

The TH/CARS2 scheme is currently funding a number of other projects around the town centre – with grants towards repair work to restore prominent buildings at 3 County Place and 44 High Street, plus a series of shopfront restoration projects throughout the town.

The work complements wider regeneration in Paisley town centre and forms part of the £100m currently being invested in the town’s historic venues and outdoor spaces to help drive new footfall, including the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson added: “Paisley has a wonderful architectural heritage – and we want to keep it looking at its best, which is what the TH/CARS2 scheme is designed to do.

“We are fortunate to have been able to attract substantial external funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland. That money is going to good use to help owners bring empty buildings back into use and restore historic features for future generations.

“I am delighted that includes these three projects and in particular that we are able to help preserve the Sma’ Shot Cottages, which is one of Paisley’s most unique and important attractions.”

The TH/CARS 2 team will liaise with residents and businesses over any impact to parking and access expected to be caused by the work.