Renfrewshire Council

Paisley bid legacy work takes major steps forward

Ambitious plans to realise the vision behind Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 have this week taken several big steps forward.

Today saw Paisley Museum close ahead of a four-year £42m transformation into an international-class destination telling the story of the town's pattern, heritage and people.

And yesterday saw councillors approve a number of measures to bring new life to Paisley town centre and harness the power of culture to change lives for the better, including:

- formal approval for a new cultural organisational development fund of £360,000 over the next three years to support the area's creative sector to grow their operations and reach;

- transforming key outdoor town centre sites in Abbey Close and County Square by expanding capacity for major events and creating spaces which encourage residents, visitors and students to spend time;

- improvements to major road junctions to improve road safety, allow traffic to flow better, and open up key gateways to the town centre;

The council's leadership board also agreed to consider a report at their next meeting which would look at how the cultural legacy will reach towns and villages throughout Renfrewshire.

The investment in outdoor spaces and roads forms £10m of a £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next few years - to create homes for the increased events, festivals and cultural activity the area is already attracting.

That includes the Paisley Museum redevelopment, expected to quadruple current visitor numbers when it reopens in 2022, plus £22m plans to preserve Paisley Town's Hall's place at the heart of life in the area and turn it into a landmark performance venue.

The various partners behind the UK City of Culture bid this year agreed to commit resource set aside to host had Paisley won to projects designed to deliver on the bid's aims - and the report to councillors told how investment in culture is already delivering results for Renfrewshire including:

- a £1.25m economic boost and 70,000 attendees at major events so far this year alone, including the Paisley Food Festival, British Pipe Band Championships and Sma' Shot Day/Weave;

- work to sell the area as a visitor destination through the paisley.is brand and website, pioneering work by the NHS to use cultural activity to tackle mental health issues, and a growth in creative business development across Renfrewshire;

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