Paisley is one of three UK towns in the running to be named ‘Great Town’ in a national awards ceremony which celebrates great placemaking.
The Academy of Urbanism Awards covers five categories of scale, including European City of the Year and Great Town, Neighbourhood, Street and Place. This year’s awards are particularly focused on places that have been through a transformation journey from a past based predominantly on industries to new approaches for their present and future.
Paisley is the only Scottish town to be shortlisted alongside finalists Barnsley in South Yorkshire and Chelmsford in Essex.
Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “Being shortlisted in the ‘Great Town’ category of The Academy of Urbanism Awards is something we are very proud of. All the work which has taken place over the years to regenerate the town coupled with the success of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has helped lead us here.
“We have been able to celebrate our manufacturing and industrial heritage while looking to the future and finding new ways for our area to prosper through making the most of our attractions and unique culture which is showcased through the Paisley.is destination brand and website. The fact that we have been shortlisted in this prestigious award recognises these efforts.”
The town has been on a transformational journey for some time culminating in being shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition. As part of the bid legacy £100million of confirmed investment has been allocated in Paisley town centre aimed at driving new footfall, preserving the incredible architectural legacy and creating a cultural destination to attract people to live, visit and invest in the area. Some of the projects benefiting from this funding include the £42million refurbishment of Paisley Museum and the £22million project to transform Paisley Town Hall.
A number of successful projects have taken place in recent years to improve the town including the £3.5m THI/CARS scheme which transformed the area around Causeyside Street which included shopfront repair grants, public realm improvements and a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre. The work on Causeyside Street was recognised by the awards last year when it was nominated in their Great Street category.
The success of THI/CARS was followed by the launch of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in 2017 – a £4million project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council which is being delivered over five years.
The next stage of the awards process will see a team of academicians travel to each finalist location and compile a report based on The Academy of Urbanism Award’s assessment criteria. A vote will then take place to determine the winner in each category.
The winners will be announced at The Academy’s high profile Awards Ceremony event which will take place on 7 November 2018 and will be co-hosted by the Academy’s Poet in Residence Ian McMillan.