Study to halt decline

Paisley sets out vision for future of Scotland’s high streets

Paisley shopping centre may become a residential quarter

A pioneering study reimagining how Paisley town centre could look in a decade aims to become a blueprint for how High Street decline could be reversed across Scotland.

The ‘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.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – considers how changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need.

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall.

Suggestions include repurposing the main shopping centre as a residential quarter; opening a European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses; new public spaces for outdoor activity; and creating shared office spaces or workshops. Relocating parts of the university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre has also been suggested.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.”

The town is already finding new uses for vacant high street spaces. Construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Aileen Campbell, said: “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.”

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