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Pioneering Paisley report points to repurposed high streets

Words: Roger Milne
Paisley regeneration / Renfrewshire Council and Threesixty Architecture

The Paisley Centre shopping facility could be repurposed into a new residential quarter under radical new plans to reimagine the town and reverse Scotland’s declining high streets.

Using the Renfrewshire town as a test case for imagining how empty retail space could be better used, Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture has produced a report with a series of ideas and proposals for how Paisley could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall.

The suggestions include:

  • introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;
  • introducing new ‘attractors’ such as a high street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;
  • bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the high street and street-fronts; and
  • creating new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets with new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

The report also proposes ways in which key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA building could be brought back into use.

In addition, the document explores the potential for both shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre.

The report - Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030 - is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland's Town Partnership.

Cabinet secretary Aileen Campbell said: "This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

"A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

"The government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets."

Image credit | Renfrewshire Council and Threesixty Architecture