Designs on £45m boost for tourism in Paisley

THE seeds of a cultural revamp for Paisley have been planted at an event in the town.

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Kai Ross, back left, and Deborah Russell, back right, James Stafford, front left and Emily Eden, of PACE Youth Theatre, pose with a handmade 'tree'
Kai Ross, back left, and Deborah Russell, back right, James Stafford, front left and Emily Eden, of PACE Youth Theatre, pose with a handmade 'tree'

Council bosses want to put the Renfrewshire town firmly on the tourist map by emphasising its culture and heritage.

The launch of Paisley: The Untold Story saw crowds gather in Thomas Coats Memorial Church to enjoy speeches by culture bosses and theatrical and musical performances.

The steps of the church were decorated with 30 bright, handmade trees with hundreds of messages written by schoolchildren attached. Members of local theatre group PACE also formed a Paisley Pattern teardrop shape, the globally-recognised symbol of the town's textile industry.

The council hope the plans could create 800 jobs and bring an extra £45million a year to the local economy.

A bid for the 2021 UK City of Culture could also be on the cards, should the regeneration plan be successful.

Hosted by Paisley-born TV star Tom Urie, the event saw speeches from Ren-frewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, author Ajay Close, Creative Scotland director of strategy Philip Deverell, and PACE Theatre Group director David Wallace.

Mr 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 concen-tration of listed buildings in Scotland, our 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.

"We are ready to tell the town's story to the world again and to bring the world to Paisley."

hannah.rodger@eveningtimes.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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