£10m Paisley retail park ‘on course to serve up 120 jobs’

Property developer London & Scottish Investments is on course to launch its new £10 million Wallneuk Retail Park in Paisley in three months time, bringing up to120 retail jobs to the town with more to come when the last remaining unit is let.

The development will see Lidl opening a flagship store on the site, its first in Paisley, with The Range opening its first local store and Tim Hortons operating a drive-thru coffee shop.

The new retail park is on the site of a former bowling alley, which L&SI bought from Tesco. Contractor Muir Construction will support 30 jobs, mostly local employees and contractors during the build phase.

Derek Mackay, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for finance and the constitution, who is the local MSP, was bowled over by the progress.

Mr Mackay, who remembers bowling at the alley as a youngster, said: “I am really impressed with the way the construction work is progressing ahead of time, which I hope will help limit the disruption to local motorists.

“It’s great to see such a prominent site being transformed from a bleak eyesore, into what I am sure will be a thriving retail centre.

“I am also pleased to welcome the new jobs which the development will bring to Renfrewshire.”

Bryan Wilson, development director with London & Scottish Investments, said: “This is fantastic news for Paisley and we are delighted to be bringing new secure jobs to the town.

“The development is also testimony to the appeal of Paisley to some of the biggest brands in the country, who are keen to move into this key site.

“The great weather we enjoyed over the summer means the hand-over to our new tenants is now scheduled for January rather than February, and the stores should open for business, in around six weeks after that, once the units are fully fitted out and stocked.”

Mr Wilson added that the site’s prominent location, on a stretch of Renfrew Road, which is Paisley’s busiest street, was one of the key factors in their decision to invest in speculatively building a 20,000 sq ft unit on site.

He said: “We are confident that potential tenants will be attracted by the footfall Lidl, the Range and Hortons will generate and the prominence of the site.”

Just last week London & Scottish Investments revealed plans to create around 100 new jobs in Barrhead where they have applied for planning permission for a new retail park on the former Nestle dog food factory site in Glasgow Road.

Public realm transformation sites revealed for £100m Paisley town centre investment

Paisley Museum

Plans to bring new life to Paisley town centre by transforming key outdoor areas have been revealed, as the ongoing £100 million investment in the town’s venues and infrastructure moves forward.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the investment as part of wider plans to transform the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

Work to turn key venues including Paisley Museum and Town Hall into 21st-century facilities hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year is well under way – and will be complemented by a £10m investment to improve the outdoor streetscape and transport links.

The plans – aimed at driving new footfall and boosting the evening economy by growing the area’s already-successful events programme and creating more attractive spaces to keep visitors, students and workers in the town – include:

  • unlocking the enormous potential of the area around Abbey Close by creating a larger and more flexible events and gathering space around the Abbey, town hall and river, including improvements to the Abbey Green;
  • a new and improved town gateway in County Square – creating a decluttered town square to welcome visitors and expand events capacity, and create a more attractive space for pavement cafes and people to dwell.

Details have also been revealed for major improvements to the town’s transport infrastructure, with upgrades to key road junctions at Mill St/Glasgow Rd, Mill St/Lonend, Canal St/Causeyside St and Renfrew Rd/Mill St/Incle St.

The aim is to improve traffic flow and road safety, while linking the town centre to its surroundings by making it easier to walk or cycle into the heart of the town and creating a better sense of arrival for people visiting Paisley’s attractions.

The projects will go to public consultation next year, followed by a detailed design phase. There will also be a feasibility study to look at further-reaching longer-term changes to the town’s road system.

The council last year set aside £10m for the above public realm projects but wants to top that up by applying to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Councillors on the leadership board will be asked to approve that application when they meet on Wednesday (19 Sept), where they will also be updated on other projects in the £100m investment.

That includes the £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections, and the £22m plans to preserve Paisley Town Hall’s place at the heart of life in the town by becoming a landmark performance venue.

The museum is planned to close later this month and reopen in 2022, and the town hall will close at the end of the year and reopen in 2021.

Other projects coming in the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub offering library services on the heart of the High St, and a refurbishment of Paisley Arts Centre.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our £100m investment in Paisley town centre is the backbone of everything which will happen in the next stage of our regeneration journey, the benefits of which will be felt around the whole Renfrewshire area.

“Over the next few years, we will transform our unique and much-loved venues into 2121st-century facilities to host the expansion of events, visitors and activity the area will be at the centre of – we are also this week revealing plans to grow the capacity of Renfrewshire’s independent creative sector through a new fund.

“We have already seen investment in culture deliver results – with visitor numbers and attendees at our already-successful major events programme on the up, and the UK City of Culture bid boosting the town’s profile, reputation and self-confidence.

“And put simply – it’s the way we have to go. Changes in the way people shop mean town centres everywhere have to reinvent themselves. We cannot turn the clock back but we can create a vibrant destination around our unique culture, heritage and events, and that is what we are doing.

“The public realm projects we are revealing details of today are key to that – they will create key outdoor spaces allowing our already-successful major events to be even bigger and better.

“At the same time, Paisley already has large populations of students and workers, and a growing number of visitors – this investment will support traders by creating more attractive spaces which encourage them to spend more time and money here.

“And the improvements to the transport infrastructure will make the town easier to get around and through, while we look at a longer-term masterplan to improve the road system further.”

ENGIE secures multiple Renfrewshire regeneration contracts

Homes in the pipeline at Johnstone Castle

Homes, schools and public buildings across Renfrewshire will soon benefit from major refurbishment and maintenance works after energy, services and regeneration specialist ENGIE won multiple contracts across the area.

The firm’s regeneration business has been confirmed as the appointed contractor for the multi-million-pound Johnstone Castle project, which will deliver 95 new energy-efficient council homes following the demolition of the existing tenements.

ENGIE has also secured a contract to re-roof the local authority’s headquarters at Renfrewshire House and the roofs at St Catherine’s and Houston Primary Schools, as part of a £1.9 million contract. The buildings will each receive additional roof insulation and waterproof membranes, as well as the reinstatement of solar panels.

The contractor has also been appointed to deliver major maintenance and refurbishment contracts including approximately £12.5m investment in kitchens, bathrooms and energy efficient heating systems in council homes over the next four years.

As part of all new contracts, ENGIE has committed to offering employment and training opportunities for local people; as well as supporting community organisations, community businesses and social enterprises.

Brian Pettigrew, regional managing director for ENGIE’s Places & Communities division, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding our presence in Renfrewshire and working on some significant projects as appointed by the council. They have a steadfast approach to local investment which is clear from the sheer volume of work they are delivering within their local communities.

“The response from local people has been fantastic as they see the benefit that planned investment brings. We are looking forward to working on these projects, as well as bidding for future contracts, as we contribute to the Scottish Government and council ambition to deliver more affordable homes across all of Renfrewshire’s communities.”

Councillor John Shaw, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s finance, resources and customer services policy Board, said: “We strive to achieve best value on all the goods, services and works we purchase as a local authority to ensure the projects we deliver are of the highest quality for our residents.

“ENGIE have been successful on a number of forthcoming contracts and I look forward to seeing these projects delivered successfully in Renfrewshire.”

Councillors give green light for bridge Black Cart pedestrian bridge

A purpose-built pedestrian bridge and cycleway that will connect people to a major investment area being developed next to Glasgow Airport has been granted planning permission.

The new crossing over the Black Cart at the south end of Greenock Road will provide a safe route for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the busy junction with Inchinnan Road.

The project is one of a series of infrastructure improvements as part of the £39.1 million Glasgow Airport Investment Area, a 150-acre manufacturing district funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Planning consent has already been granted for the realignment of Abbotsinch Road and a new link bridge being built over the White Cart.

Two national innovation centres have already been confirmed at the new site, the £65m National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and the £56m Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, which will be at the heart of an emerging manufacturing district.

It is anticipated the district will create thousands of new permanent jobs and 365 jobs are required during the construction of the City Deal-funded roads, bridges and cycle routes, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “For many years now Renfrewshire has played a vital role in Scotland’s manufacturing sector and this is set to grow exponentially as these national innovation centres attract others to base themselves at this fantastic new facility, connected by air, sea and land.”

Taylor Wimpey to hold further consultation over potential development at Kilmacolm

Proposals for a residential development at Planetreeyetts in Kilmacolm are set to be presented at a second community consultation event.

Taylor Wimpey West Scotland is bringing forward proposals for a residential development of new private and affordable family homes plus associated infrastructure and open space on a site situated to the northern edge of Kilmacolm, west of Finlaystone Road.

The event follows an initial consultation held with the community on June 21 when the housebuilder heard their aspirations and concerns over the potential development.

This forthcoming event, to be held on August 23 from 3pm to 8pm at Kilmacolm Community Centre, will be based on the resulting feedback and other engagement, which Taylor Wimpey said has highlighted a desire in the village for new homes, especially for first-time-buyers and those looking to downsize.

The development proposal includes a mix of new homes, with a specific focus on two and three bedroom, as well as semi-detached and detached styles. It also includes the associated open space and infrastructure that Taylor Wimpey said is needed for a development of this nature.

The 5.93 hectare site is immediately adjacent to an established residential area, bounded to the east by Finlaystone Road and to the south by Quarry Road. This is the most natural area to be considered for the growth of Kilmacolm, avoiding the key issues which constrain most potential expansion areas for the village.

Planetreeyetts is also close to the village centre, allowing sustainable access and will have minimal impact on the village setting. It has also not been identified as internationally, nationally or locally important for nature conservation reasons.

Lesley McVeigh, strategic land and planning manager for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: “Following our first successful community engagement, we are now looking to update the local community and provide a second opportunity for them to submit their comments.

“It is vital that we listen to the views of the local community when it comes to developments such as this, reflecting their views and aspirations in our final proposals.

“We are aware, from the extensive consultation we have undertaken, that there is demand for new homes in Kilmacolm, especially for those looking to downsize and first-time buyers.

“Taylor Wimpey is committed to engaging with local communities and building new homes and communities where people want to live. We do much more than build homes; we strive to make a positive contribution to both local communities and the local area.”

£1.1m revamp completed at Paisley hospice

The ACCORD Hospice has opened the doors to its new inpatient unit in Paisley following a £1.1 million refurbishment carried out by McLean Architects and Clark Contracts.

Utilising the existing footprint of the unit, the hospice worked closely with the architects and contractor to create a modern, homely environment which complements the delivery of specialist palliative and end of life care.

The £1.1m development of the hospice facility has created eight single rooms with en-suite wet rooms, patio doors leading to individual patio and communal garden areas.

Inpatient units are vital for those who cannot be cared for at home and require intensive support for complex needs, or for those individuals who wish their end of life care at ACCORD.

Changing needs of patients suggested that the hospice needed to improve the physical environment. ACCORD staff, provided feedback on how the hospice could design and equip the unit to meet the complex and diverse needs of patients, which are anticipated to increase in the future.

Helen Simpson, ACCORD chief executive, said: “I am thrilled and delighted with the outcome of this challenging but exciting project. The feedback received from patients, families, volunteers, supporters and staff during our ‘open sessions’ supports that we have achieved our aim of having a modern, functional yet homely healthcare environment in which to care for patients and families living with  a life limiting illness.”

Gerry Cummins, director, Clark Contracts, said: “As a local company that has supported the ACCORD Hospice through various fundraising activities over the years, it has been fantastic to work with them as a customer. We hope these improvement works allow them to continue to deliver the incredible work they do.”

Brian Hunter, ACCORD clinical services manager, added: “I am very pleased that we realised every goal we set out to achieve with this project. We have created a very modern, homely unit which is vibrant in colour as well as meeting the ever-changing nursing and clinical needs of our patients. It was a team effort and I thank everyone involved. It is now time for our patients and staff to return and enjoy what we have all created.”

Strathclyde secures £16.5m for major new advanced engineering facility

The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) has secured £16.5 million to establish a major new advanced engineering facility that will put Scotland at the forefront of the movement to transform one of the manufacturing sector’s most traditional and important supply chains.

FutureForge, funded by the UK Aerospace Research and Technology Programme (delivered by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute), Scottish Enterprise and the AFRC’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult funding, will adjoin the world-renowned Renfrewshire-based centre and will revolutionise the global hot forging sector.

Set to begin operating in 2020, FutureForge will be the world’s most advanced hot forging research platform and will include a one-of-a-kind, industry 4.0 ready, demonstrator.

It will see the AFRC work with companies in the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, energy, nuclear and rail industries helping companies to increase their global competitiveness. The facility will help generate around £40 million of new collaborative R&D projects over 10 years, creating up to 34 new jobs.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “This new facility will be a real asset for the AFRC and its business partners, bolstering its already impressive capabilities and enabling further research collaborations to produce tangible impact for industry.

“It demonstrates Strathclyde’s commitment to working together with industry on research, development and innovation and making Scotland a leading centre of manufacturing excellence.”

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive chair at the AFRC, said: “This is an exciting time for advanced engineering and manufacturing in Scotland. “This is the third big announcement in the past year and the country’s reputation as being the go-to place for the development of the next generation of manufacturing technologies is strengthening.

“I’m thrilled that the Advanced Forming Research Centre is at the heart of all manufacturing R&D in the country and the FutureForge facility will see us transform the $268billion global forging supply chain. Taking it from a black-art with centuries of tradition and turning it into a competitive industry with advanced digitised capabilities fit for centuries to come. This project really will help secure the future of an industry that is vitally important to the wider manufacturing sector across the globe.”

Managing director of Strategy and Sectors at Scottish Enterprise, Linda Hanna, said: “Scotland is already leading the way across the UK in metal forming research, manufacturing technology and innovation. This investment, however, will develop a unique forging capability, not available anywhere else in the world. It will help companies across Scotland develop next generation light weight products and give them increased competitive advantage in a global market place.

“Together with the AFRC, we are focussed on achieving the ambition to grow Scotland’s high value manufacturing sector through increased innovation, productivity and investment. Today’s announcement forms a key part of that action plan.”

State of the art Renfrewshire campus handed over ahead of new school year

Staff at St Paul’s Primary School and Foxlea Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Foxbar were given a sneak preview of their new shared £8.5 million shared campus last week.

The facility will open to pupils and children in the new school year in August and staff were invited on a tour to familiarise themselves with the new school site.

It was designed by Renfrewshire Council’s property services team following two years of engagement with the school communities and provides learning environments fit for modern and flexible teaching.

St Paul’s will house 212 pupils, while an integrated communication unit has space for a further 24 at the shared campus, which was handed over by contractors Morrison Construction to Renfrewshire Council last week.

The Early Learning and Childcare Centre has capacity for 80 pre-five children while an adult learning and literacy centre can house up to 10 students.

Staff and children at St Paul’s got a say on the new campus colour scheme, choosing the red and grey school colours in the social and reception areas and pale greens and grey in the learning spaces to provide a calm environment. They also had input in furniture choices and outdoor facilities.

Head teacher of St Paul’s, Louise Maher, said: “It’s fantastic to come on a tour with staff and see the finished building ahead of welcoming children and pupils back in August.

“We are especially excited about seeing all our ideas become a reality as well as looking forward to the next chapter of school life in our wonderful new space. We can’t wait to move in.”

The campus features outdoor learning spaces, including a canopied area designed for use by smaller groups of pupils to carry out a range of activities such as science experiments.

All formal learning spaces link directly to covered outdoor spaces, which, in turn, connect to outdoor play areas.

There is an all-weather sports surface and a forest area where children can create ‘mud kitchens’ and allotments.

The building is on one level and has access to the pitch from the gym, as well as a bike and scooter rack to encourage children to ride to school, with the artwork designed by one of the pupils.

The playground has graphics and games painted into the ground surface and as well as a gym, a centrally located studio provides space for dance and movement classes.

Renfrewshire Council’s education convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “We are investing in a number of new build schools that also invest in our children and teachers.

“We are committed to ensuring our children and young people have the best learning environments so they can achieve their full potential and St Paul’s shared campus is a great demonstration of this.

“It’s a campus fit for the 21st century, with classrooms which are internet ready and will accommodate the use of modern teaching aids.

“With outdoor learning an instrumental part of the school curriculum, pupils also have access to external spaces which allow them to engage with the world around them.”

Morrison Construction’s managing director for Central Scotland, Eddie Robertson, said: “What better way to celebrate handing over the keys to this fantastic school than to welcome teachers with a tour of the high-quality education facilities we have delivered.

“We are proud of the lasting benefit this project will provide the community, which positively impacted on the local economy by supporting 14 work placements, five apprenticeships completions and creating seven new jobs during construction.”

Trio of new school projects for Clark Contracts

Gordon Cunningham

Clark Contracts has been appointed to deliver three new projects for Renfrewshire Council at West Primary School, St John Ogilvie Primary School and Inchinnan Primary School.

Clark Contracts will complete the external refurbishment of West Primary School in Paisley including the upgrade of existing roof coverings, installation of new windows, stonework and replacement of render.

The contractor will be completing the demolition of external walls and extending the existing building at St John Ogilvie Primary School in Paisley to provide 2 new classrooms. The school, which has approximately 200 pupils enrolled, was originally built in the 1970’s.

The project at Inchinnan Primary School will replace the majority of the existing electrical services throughout the school.

Gordon Cunningham, managing director, Clark Contracts, said: “It is fantastic to be awarded these three local school projects and we look forward to working with Renfrewshire Council to complete the works.”

Clark Contracts recently completed the refurbishment and extension of Mossvale Primary School and Nursery Class and St James’ Primary School and the construction of St Fergus Primary school, both in Paisley, totalling over £8 million.

London firm selected to design £42m Paisley Museum revamp

Paisley Museum

Architectural practice AL_A has been appointed to design plans for the £42 million Paisley Museum transformation project.

The revamp, a key project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure, will create a new revitalised home for Paisley’s internationally-significant textile heritage and outstanding natural history, art and science collections.

Features include a contemporary addition to the existing Victorian-era building, creating a new entrance and museum spaces – including a cafe and shop – landscaping and significantly-improved access.

In addition, major revamps will be carried out to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, while a complete internal redesign will reimagine the visitor experience and double the number of objects on public display.

London-based AL_A has designed numerous landmark projects, including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – for which it was awarded the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018 this week.

The firm was among more than 120 firms to tender for the Paisley Museum project and will lead an Anglo-Scottish multi-disciplinary design team including conservation consultants Giles Quarme and Associates, landscape architects GROSS.MAX and engineers Arup.

Founder Amanda Levete said the Paisley Museum project is “one of the most radical briefs I have read”.

“It triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design,” she said.

“The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

“This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection, it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, added: “For Paisley to have attracted a design team of such global reputation to come to Scotland for the first time shows we are being noticed around the UK and abroad.

“Being the first ever town on a UK City of Culture shortlist took our profile to new levels – but this appointment also says a lot about the scale and ambition of the museum project, and the worldwide importance of Paisley’s heritage and collections.”

The project is scheduled to be complete by 2022.