The £22m plans to transform Paisley Town Hall into one of the key venues in the west of Scotland will be led by the architects behind some of the UK’s best-known destinations.
Glasgow-based Holmes Miller – who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – will now help turn the inside of the 19th-century building into a 21st-century facility and preserve the future of the much-loved landmark.
The town hall will close in early 2019 and reopen in 2021 as a venue capable of attracting new events and footfall to the town and helping host the expansion of activity planned through the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.
It is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town's unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.
The architects will now produce initial designs for the interior aimed at broadening the range of events the town hall can offer, and transforming the performance facilities and visitor experience.
The project will also include improved catering and conference facilities, better physical access, and replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems.
The town hall revamp is being run by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.
The council worked with Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall – also designed by Holmes Miller – which has won a string of industry awards since it opened three years ago.
Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the town hall – has already been working with regular town hall users to find temporary homes for their events while the building is closed, with other town centre locations and venues around Renfrewshire set to benefit from that activity.
The design process will involve working with users and stakeholders to ensure the venue meets contemporary needs.
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of RL: “Paisley Town Hall has been a much-loved landmark at the heart of life in the town for almost 140 years – we want it to stay that way for the next 140.
“But like any heritage building, it needs investment to stay at its best – and with some work having been done on the outside of the building in 2012, the interior now needs a revamp.
“The appointment of Holmes Miller is a major boost – they bring huge expertise of working with listed buildings, entertainment venues and community facilities around the UK, and will help us equip the town hall for the future and keep it as a venue of which Renfrewshire can be proud.
“Over the coming months we will consult further with town hall users and the wider community so they can help us shape the future of their town hall.”
Other historic buildings Holmes Miller have worked on include the £60m redevelopment of Marischal College in Aberdeen, while their Renfrewshire projects include the new Park Mains High School and Renfrew Health Centre, as well as the new housing at Hawkhead village in Paisley.
Douglas Jack of Holmes Miller said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop our successful working relationship with Renfrewshire Council and Hub West with the regeneration of Paisley Town Hall, a landmark building in Paisley and a fantastic example of Victorian architecture.
“We very much look forward to working with the stakeholders and project team on this exciting project which will play a key part in the wider regeneration strategy of Paisley.”
Iain Marley, Hub West Scotland CEO: “The Hub West Scotland team are delighted and excited to partner with Renfrewshire Council on another key community investment project.
“The redevelopment of Paisley Town Hall will transform this well known and important heritage asset and create a vibrant new destination for the community.”
The investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections, predicted to bring around 125,000 visitors a year into the town centre.
The council last month appointed architects of international importance for the museum redevelopment – with the chosen firm AL_A having worked on landmark buildings around the globe, including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter in London, and having recently been shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at the Eiffel Tower.
Other big projects happening over the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre, major investment in town centre outdoor spaces and transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.
The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is