PAISLEY has been left disappointed after losing out to Coventry in its bid to be named the next UK City of Culture.
The Renfrewshire town was one of five contenders for the title in 2021, with Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea also on the shortlist. The title is currently held by Hull and was previously won by Derry-Londonderry.
The official announcement from the UK government said the winning bid had impressed the judges with its focus on youth, diversity and scale of impact.
The Paisley 2021 bid team tweeted: “Paisley has just missed out on being crowned #UKCityofCulture2021.
“We want to thank all Buddies for their incredible support over the past 2 years and for backing #Paisley2021.
“Congratulations to @Coventry2021.”
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said Paisley had been on an “inspiring” journey over the past two years during the bidding process.
She added: “A real strength has been the extensive community engagement with more than 30,000 people involved – all helping to put together an outstanding bid for Paisley and for Scotland.”
The world-famous Paisley Pattern and the town’s textile heritage going back to the 17th century were at the heart of its bid, along with historic venues like the town’s 12th century abbey and its Victorian-era town hall and museum.
Singer Paolo Nutini, actor Gerard Butler, artist John Byrne and fashion designer Pam Hogg were among the big names from Paisley to back the bid, which was supported by more than 200 local businesses.
It was predicted that the title would be worth around £175 million to the local economy and create 4,700 jobs in Paisley over the next ten years, while it was hoped more than a million visitors would flock to the town during 2021 itself.
Around £110m worth of improvements in cultural venues and town centre infrastructure was pledged in advance, with Renfrewshire Council previously insisting they would go ahead regardless of the bid’s success.
This includes a £42m overhaul of its Victorian museum, which won the crucial backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund in September.
Also going ahead will be a £22m overhaul of its town hall, a £2.5m revamp of Paisley Arts Centre, a £7.7m project to make St James playing field suitable for major events and £10m worth of physical improvements to the town centre itself.