COUNCIL bosses have unveiled a radical vision for Paisley town centre, which includes flattening the Paisley Centre for new homes and building a High Street cinema.

The ambitious plan, called The Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030, would see the heart of the town being completely transformed over the next decade.

The existing Paisley Centre could be levelled to make way for High Street homes, while a movie theatre would be created nearby.

READ MORE: Cultural hub will transform heart of Paisley's High Street

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

The Gazette:

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.

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 ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre
  • - 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.

The plans were unveiled by Scotland's Cabinet Secretary, Aileen Campbell, on Friday. 

Ms 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.”

The report presents ideas for what could go on the space currently occupied by the Paisley Centre - including a new residential quarter along a pedestrianised street running from the High Street to New Street with a mixture of retail and food and drink on the ground floor, flats on the upper floors, and new outdoor public spaces.

Council leader Iain Nicolson said changes in the way people buy things has played a part in shaping the vision.

He explained: “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.”

A town centre cinema is one of the other ideas envisaged by the authors.

READ MORE: Plans for Paisley cinema backed by provost

As it stands, a local community group - the Paisley Community Trust - are already working on their own plans for a high street cinema.

The council fully supports this idea, which fits with the Vision, and could be one of the first projects to be realised from it.

The Gazette:

The council has provided funding to the trust to help them develop their business plan.

Currently the trust is looking into possible sites and investigating funding options.

There are opportunities to take a look at the plans for yourself.

A public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre today (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online at, along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.