The ongoing transformation of Paisley’s historic cultural venues is moving forward – with Paisley Town Hall set to be the first to reopen later this year.
Renfrewshire Council’s current investment aims to use the town’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future, and includes refurbishments of Paisley’s museum, town hall and arts centre, plus a new home for the town’s library services.
Construction work on the town hall is due to be completed in the summer – with the building then handed over to local culture and leisure trust OneRen, who will spend the next few months ensuring the town hall is fully fitted-out and that the building and staff are ready to welcome visitors.
The town hall will be open in time to host events during the Royal National Mod, Scotland’s largest celebration of Gaelic language and culture, taking place across Paisley in October.
The work will turn the town hall into a top-class entertainment venue and keep it at the heart of local life for generations to come, by adding new rooms and modern facilities to the existing building, while preserving its unique and much-loved historic architectural features.
The other venue projects are expected to reopen in the following order:
– the new Learning and Cultural Hub being built in a formerly-vacant High Street retail unit. Construction is due to complete in the summer, with library services to be transferred there from their temporary home next to the Lagoon in the second half of the year;
– Paisley Arts Centre is being extended and upgraded, with new modern audience and performance facilities, and a new public space outside the building. Construction work will continue into the summer and the venue is expected to be reopen by early 2024;
– Paisley Museum is being transformed into a world-class destination to showcase the town’s internationally-significant collections and bring visitors and footfall to the town. Construction is due to be complete later this year, before the comprehensive programme of exhibition fit-out starts, with the building expected to open in 2024;
Previous construction timelines and planned completion dates have had to shift due to the pressure affecting the wider construction industry caused by the covid pandemic and other global events.
Each building will be operated by OneRen, who – once handed over – will complete the fit-out and get the building ready to operate, while also delivering a programme of opening events.
The venues programme is being complemented by investment in the town centre’s outdoor spaces and historic buildings, with plans to improve Abbey Close as an events venue also moving forward.
And the £5m Townscape Heritage/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme is entering its final year, having helped fund the restoration of several prominent historic properties and outdoor areas, plus shopfront improvement grants and a community engagement programme.
An update on progress with the programme is being given to members of the council’s Economy and Regeneration Policy Board ahead of their meeting next week.
The board’s convener, Cllr Andy Steel, said: “This ambitious programme of venue investment aims to preserve Paisley’s unique heritage for future generations, provide homes for top-class events and cultural experiences, and bring new footfall to the area.
“Alongside the major investment taking place in the new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (Scotland) currently emerging beside Glasgow Airport, we hope it will create new jobs and economic benefits for the whole Renfrewshire area.
“Global events of the past few years have produced unexpected pressure on construction projects everywhere, and mean the programme has taken longer to complete than we’d initially expected.
“But – starting with Paisley Town Hall later this year – we are now counting down to the point where people can see for themselves what the investment has delivered.”
When will the observatory be re-opened?
Last I heard was late 2023 for the outside works to be completed at Museum/Observatory, it will then take a year for the internal fit-outs to be completed so looking at late 2024 at the earliest.