Paisley regeneration plans ‘could bring in £45m’

PLANS to turn one of Scotland’s largest towns into a major tourist destination could create 800 jobs and bring in £45 million to the local economy over the next decade, according to a report.

The regeneration plans could create 800 jobs, the report has said. Picture: Complimentary

A regeneration project in Paisley is to focus on promoting the Renfrewshire town’s culture and heritage, with the aim of bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2021.

The proposals focus on building on the town’s historic textile and weaving industries, which created the Paisley Shawl and the famous Paisley Pattern.

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Plans include the refurbishment of Paisley Museum to become a national museum of textile and costume, and the creation of a fashion and design centre on the town’s High Street, along with new theatre space.

The architecture of the town and buildings such as the 12th-century Paisley Abbey will also be promoted under the plans with already established cultural events expanded over the next few years.

The project, titled Paisley: The Untold Story, was launched today in the Thomas Coats Memorial Church with performances from local musicians including Michael Cassidy, the winner of the inaugural Gerry Rafferty songwriting prize.

Members of the local Pace youth theatre group, the largest in the UK, formed a giant Paisley Pattern to help launch the plans.

Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan said: “It is no exaggeration to say this launch could mark a turning point in the recent history of the area, leading to lasting positive change for all of Renfrewshire.

“Paisley has a wealth of assets to be proud of - the second-highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland, our historic place at the heart of the global textile industry and our thriving events, arts and cultural scene to name just three.

“Those assets will be used as the engine to drive regeneration throughout the whole area - and all of Renfrewshire will share in the economic benefits.

“But what we are aiming at is bigger than anything the council could do by itself. Paisley’s biggest asset is its people - and this process will be led by them, for them.

“When the Paisley Pattern was invented, the town was known the world over. We are ready to tell the town’s story to the world again and to bring the world to Paisley.”