Paisley shortlisted to become UK City of Culture in 2021
Paisley has been shortlisted as the sole Scottish contender vying to become the UK City of Culture in 2021.
The Renfrewshire town is up against Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea for the title, credited with attracting major investment to former winners.
The UK government’s department for digital, culture, media and sport will announce the winner at the end of the year.
A bid by Perth to make the shortlist was unsuccessful.
Paisley’s bid focused on a £42m plan to create a national museum of textile and design and reconnect the town with its famous Paisley Pattern.
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The bid has also been backed by some of the town’s most high-profile figures, including singer Paolo Nutini, actor Gerard Butler, artist John Byrne and designer Pam Hogg.
The Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, which placed the bid, said that if Paisley was chosen, it could provide a £172m economic boost to the town and create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over a 10-year period.
Board chairman, Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson, said: “For the judges to have shortlisted us is a major endorsement of our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire – and we are in it to win it.
“I know local people will be absolutely thrilled at this news – we want to thank every one of them as they are the ones whose incredible contribution made it happen.”
Mr Nicolson said that more than 30,000 people had joined in with the bid, equivalent to almost half the town’s population, and that winning the title would be a “major boost”.
He added: “Aside from hosting some of the world’s best performers and bringing more than a million people to Paisley in 2021, it would over the long-term create thousands of new jobs, and allow us to attract massive investment and build a new town centre economy with tourism and creativity at its heart.”
Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron added: “There’s never been a Scottish winner and we would be thrilled to be the first – we are now Scotland’s bid and would love to see the whole country get behind us.”
The leader of Perth Council, Ian Campbell, said there were no regrets about pursuing the bid.
He said: “Perth is a small city with huge ambitions, and the experience of developing our bid has absolutely cemented our conviction that we can achieve these.”
Derry-Londonderry was the first city to host the title in 2013. Hull will host the 2017 version, during which the 2021 winner will be announced.