Development on Arnotts site boosts town centre

A combined retail and housing investment on the former Arnotts site is set to give a major boost to the regeneration of Paisley town centre.

A masterplan for the Abbey Quarter is coming together after Link Group Ltd agreed to take forward plans for 31 one and two bedroom flats for intermediate rent or shared equity on Lawn Street.

The development has been backed by the joint venture company set up by Renfrewshire Council and Parklane to revive the important Arnotts site.

Plans are also well advanced for the next phase of development on the site which will include new retail development and private sector housing for sale while retaining the listed frontage of the Arnotts building.

In addition to the news on the Arnotts development, SPT (Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) is soon to announce proposals to invest £1.8m to improve bus services in Paisley town centre including new bus stances, signage, improved bus routes and linkages to Paisley Gilmour Street station.

Colin Culross, Link’s Director of Development & Asset Management, said: “Link is delighted to be able to continue its commitment to the regeneration of Paisley town centre.

"Having completed our first development in the town almost 40 years ago, we have recently successfully delivered a range of shared equity and intermediate rent tenures in adjacent properties in Cotton Street, which were supported by Scottish Government grant funding.

“Link is well placed to contribute to the success of the Arnotts development. We recognise the historical and architectural importance of the Arnotts site and will work with the developers to achieve an appropriate design solution which embodies the positive benefits created by the ’spirit of place’, delivering a more sustainable environment for our customers and the homes in which they live.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said:  “This investment is a big vote of confidence in the regeneration of Paisley town centre and the development of the town’s Abbey Quarter.

“The Arnotts site has historically been important to Paisley and we want to make it important again.

“Bringing people back to live in the town centre is a key part of our plans for the future of Paisley.  We’ve already seen the successful development of The Cloisters by Westpoint Homes at Cotton Street, and the £13.2m confirmed investment by UWS in student accommodation.

“Along with the proposed retail investment, this major initiative will also enhance the development of the town’s Abbey Quarter.  Only recently, Paisley Abbey submitted a planning application for a £2million refurbishment on the site of the former fourth cloister.

“There is an integrated approach on transport, regeneration, housing and development in Paisley town centre.  We are addressing a range of issues which will boost the town’s appeal to residents, visitors and investors.  

“Later this year, we will welcome thousands of visitors to Paisley for the first staging of the Royal National Mòd in the town, as well as The Spree national arts festival.

“In recent months, we have started to make commercial property owners in the town centre face up to their maintenance responsibilities.

“Paisley Town Hall will reopen next month after a £1.5m modernisation which will also feature enhanced tourism facilities, while the recently-refurbished Lagoon Leisure Centre with its new spa is proving very popular.

“In these difficult economic times, it’s very encouraging we have definitive news on reviving the Arnotts site, with further transport improvement soon to be confirmed by SPT. I welcome this approach and have asked officers to bring detailed reports to the council in the near future.”

Tom Johnston, President of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is indeed great news for Paisley.

"The Arnotts site is an important gateway to the town and the benefits that should be derived from the development of the site, not least the additional footfall for the retail and leisure sectors, is most welcome.

"Hopefully this will assist us in bringing further developers and investors to Paisley. This is yet another vote of confidence and demonstrates that businesses are prepared to invest in the town.”