Work is well under way on a £100m investment in Paisley town centre venues and cultural infrastructure over the next few years. This is being led by Renfrewshire Council and its partners as part of wider plans to change the area’s fortunes using heritage and culture.
The aim is to turn our historic venues into 21st century facilities which can host the new visitors, events and cultural activity the area is attracting. Work on venues operated by Renfrewshire Leisure includes:
This complements investment by the council in town centre transport links and outdoor spaces, and ongoing work to help owners restore historic buildings;
What are the benefits?
The venue investment is central to the wider work to use the power of Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to change its future by making us one of Scotland’s key destinations for culture and events.
Aside from preserving our precious architectural legacy and museum collections, the revamped venues will host activity which will bring huge volumes of new visitors and footfall to the town, bringing new life to the town centre and creating chances for business to thrive.
The museum alone is forecast to attract 125,000 visitors a year and create hundreds of new jobs during construction and once it opens. The revamped town hall will double attendees to 100,000 and – along with the arts centre - will be able to attract more and bigger shows, bringing more footfall into the town. The revamped St James will be able to host major outdoor events – such as big outdoor music gigs. And the investment in outdoor spaces will make the town more attractive for visitors, residents, workers and students to spend their time and money.
What is the timetable for closures?
For investment of this scale, we do have to close some of the venues while work is ongoing. Paisley Museum, Paisley Central Library and the Heritage Centre are planned to close on 20 September and reopen in 2022. Paisley Town Hall shuts at the end of 2018 and reopens in 2021, and Paisley Arts Centre will close in summer 2019 and reopen in autumn 2020.
What is happening to the museum building?
The Paisley Museum Reimagined project will see major revamps to all the buildings on the Paisley Museum site, including Coats Observatory.
There will be a complete internal redesign, which will – in partnership with the local community – reimagine the visitor experience, change how the collections are displayed, and double the number of objects on show. There will also be a new entrance, a café/restaurant and an upgraded shop, landscaping of a new Museum garden and much-improved access. The museum is being redesigned by award-winning international architects AL_A.
What happens to the collections?
The collections will be decanted to Paisley: The Secret Collection at 9 High St – the first publicly-accessible museum store on a UK High Street. The public will be able to see them at key points over the next four years by joining in a guided tour – contact 0141 618 5129 or visit renfrewshireleisure.com for details.
Will the work impact on neighbours?
There will be an unavoidable degree of disruption when the construction starts in 2020 but Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure will be working hard to support and inform our neighbours while that happens. We will also keep in touch with local businesses to ensure they are aware of what is going on and ready to benefit from the long-term increase in footfall the new museum will bring.
What will happen to Paisley Central Library?
Paisley Central Library will move to a temporary home in early 2019 next to the Lagoon Leisure Centre before moving to the new learning and cultural hub when it opens in 2021. The new building will be a flexible modern learning space and a 21st-century home for library services, driving footfall to the heart of the High St. The heritage library will go to a temporary home in Mile End Mill for the next four years then move back into the museum when it reopens.
How can I access library services now?
There are 11 other libraries in Renfrewshire and an extensive e-book facility for customers. Bookbug sessions will be relocated to the Lagoon. Visit renfrewshireleisure.com/libraries for more information.
I need access to PCs – where am I going to go in the meantime?
Public access PCs will be available in the Paisley.is office at 5a High Street from 25 September. Library staff will be on hand to assist visitors. Opening hours will be follows: Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat 9am – 5pm. Tues and Thurs 9am – 8pm
What happens to Bookbug and other popular sessions?
After the closure of the Library, Bookbug sessions will take place in the Lagoon – the first session at this venue will be on 1 October. The Digiteer service will continue to operate in the temporary facility at 5a High Street, and then in the temporary library at the Lagoon.
What will the redevelopment involve?
Paisley Town Hall will receive a £22m internal refurbishment to become one of the landmark entertainment venues in the West of Scotland. The redesign will broaden the range of events the town hall can offer, and transform the performance facilities and visitor experience, as well as improved catering and conference facilities, better physical access, and replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems. It will close at the end of the year and reopen in 2021.
It’s a beautiful building – will this keep it that way?
Paisley Town Hall has been at the heart of life in the town for the past 140 years – this revamp is aimed at keeping it that way for the future. It will preserve the beautiful architectural features inside and outside the building but add 21st-century facilities and upgrade elements of the building which need replaced for the building to remain viable over the long term.
Where will town hall events go while the building is shut?
Many regular events will be relocated to other venues. Renfrewshire Leisure also manages Renfrew Town Hall, Johnstone Town Hall and Tweedie Town Hall (Linwood). All of these venues can cater for a wide variety of events such are private hire, weddings, musical performances and much more.
How can I contact the venues while closed?
You can still contact Paisley Museum, Coats Observatory , the Heritage Centre and Paisley Central Library through 0300 300 1210 or via the contact us section on the website.