Renfrewshire Council

Council Leader Iain Nicolson

Leader blog: What Paisley Did Next

This week sees major developments in Renfrewshire's ongoing culture-led regeneration. Here, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson talks about what that means...

We always said Paisley's UK City of Culture journey and the work to transform Renfrewshire's future would continue - so I'm delighted this week saw that take several big steps forward.

That includes approval for a new fund to help Renfrewshire's creative organisations move their operations to the next level, and plans to transform key Paisley town centre outdoor spaces.

And Paisley Museum is now closing to allow work to start on a £42m transformation into a world-class destination telling the stories of its pattern, heritage and people.

Some people may ask why the council is investing in culture to bring life back to our town centres. The short answer is changes to the way people shop mean High Streets everywhere need to rethink what their role is.

So we have to use what sets us apart - in our case, an internationally-significant heritage and cultural story - to drive visitors and footfall to local traders. And we will make sure the benefits of that are spread throughout all of Renfrewshire.

We've already seen that approach deliver results - the UK City of Culture bid brought people together and boosted our profile and reputation, while our growing major events programme has created a £1.25m economic boost for Renfrewshire so far in 2018 alone.

Paisley Museum is the flagship project within a £100m investment in the town centre over the next few years, which will also see a major revamp of Paisley Town Hall, alongside investment in the people and activity which will fill those venues.

Just last week we saw international attention on the opening of the V&A museum in Dundee - showing how new venues can change the fortunes of the areas around them.

With Dundee losing out on the UK City of Culture title in 2013 then going on to become a top destination and achieve their bid's vision anyway, we don't have to look far to see what investment in culture can achieve,

The next stages of Paisley's journey will throw up a lot of opportunity - I am excited by how we can build on the work done to date and hope you are too.