Paisley has been voted the best town in the UK & Ireland at this year’s Academy of Urbanism Awards in recognition for its outstanding efforts to transform it fortunes.
Paisley was the only Scottish town to be shortlisted alongside finalists Barnsley in South Yorkshire and Chelmsford in Essex.
The Urbanism Awards is split up into five categories that include European City of the Year, Great Town, Great Neighbourhood, Great Street Award and Great Place award.
The shortlisted places are judged against on a number of social, economic and environmental factors, which include good governance and commercial success.
The town was the first Scottish place to win the title since the inaugural awards in 2006.
The Great town award recognises the best and most improved urban environments throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.
This year the selection focused on places that have went through a huge transformation.
As part of the judging process, the assessors visited Paisley in August. Michele Grant, lead assessor commended Paisley for using heritage and culture to change the narrative of the town.
She said: “Renfrewshire Council’s UK City of Culture bid is an outstanding example of how to shape a collective vision and build community confidence that delivers in the long term.
“The bid and its preparation has transformed the way local people and external organisations and individuals think and speak about the town.”
Renfrewshire Council’s investment in social housing was also praised as “impressive”, as was “deep and meaningful working between the council and communities.”
Iain Nicolson, Renfrewshire council leader said:
“We are delighted that Paisley has been awarded the Great Town title- something that couldn’t have happened without the tremendous support from all sections of the community.
“The bidding process for UK City of Culture 2021 kickstarted the process to transform our place, which is very much continuing with our plans to use Paisley unique cultural and heritage assets to make it a key destination for visitors and events.”
He continued: “Work to revitalise our town centre and economy is already underway, with a £110 million investment in the town centre and our venues, and £276 million of major infrastructure projects taking place in Renfrewshire as part of the Glasgow Region City Deal over the next decade.
“We are also reinventing our textile heritage for the 21st century and launched a new destination brand, paisley.is earlier this year.”
The Chair of the Academy of Urbanism, David Rudlin, said:
“Home of the Paisley pattern- a town that has recovered from industrial decline by concentrating on basics, good housing, affordable housing and has a strong town centre.
“It may not have been successful in being nominated as UK City of Culture 2021 but the bidding process has been incredibly positive as a catalyst for change.”