Paisley makes the shortlist for UK City of Culture 2021

Paisley Town Hall. The Renfrewshire town is in the running to be named UK City of Culture. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Paisley Town Hall. The Renfrewshire town is in the running to be named UK City of Culture. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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The team behind Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 has said they are “in it to win it” after becoming the sole Scottish place shortlisted.

The Renfrewshire town is up against Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea for the title after the 11 places bidding were narrowed down to five.

Scotland’s other contender, Perth, is now out of the competition.

The UK government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will announce the winner at the end of the year.

The Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, which placed the bid, claims that if Paisley is chosen it could provide a £172 million economic boost to the town and create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

The board’s chairman, Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson, said: “For the judges to have shortlisted us is a major endorsement of our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire – and we are in it to win it.

“I know local people will be absolutely thrilled at this news – we want to thank every one of them as they are the ones whose incredible contribution made it happen.”

He said more than 30,000 people joined in with the bid, equivalent to almost half the town’s population, and that winning the title would be a “major boost”.

He added: “Aside from hosting some of the world’s best performers and bringing more than a million people to Paisley in 2021, it would over the long term create thousands of new jobs, and allow us to attract massive investment and build a new town centre economy with tourism and creativity at its heart.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron added: “There’s never been a Scottish winner and we would be thrilled to be the first – we are now Scotland’s bid and would love to see the whole country get behind us.”

The winner of the award, which comes with a £3 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will be chosen in December. Due to the preparation required for the tenure, UK City of Culture status is only awarded every four years.

Arts, heritage and tourism minister John Glenn said: “We have received strong bids from across the UK and now have a fantastic shortlist of five that reflect the diversity and cultural ambition of our towns and cities. I want to congratulate all 11 bids which offered brilliant examples of how to celebrate their own unique culture and heritage.