The study has been designed to present radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade with the aim of starting a conversation about what might be possible there.
The 'Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030' is the result of a link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish government and Scotland's Town Partnership. It uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used
Aileen Campbell, Scotland's cabinet secretary for communities and local government, officially unveiled the report, which was produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture. The study is based on the idea that 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 ideas for how the town could be rebalanced. Their 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;
- 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;
- new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to
- how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;
- other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers' spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre.
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 Scottish government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets."
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.
"Paisley town centre is already changing for the better - the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.
"Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone - so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen."
Among initiatives already under way is a £100m investment in the town's venues and outdoor spaces, including expanding Paisley Museum.