NEW pictures have given a first glimpse at what Paisley Town Hall will look like following a £22m revamp.
The Victorian-era town hall is currently undergoing major internal refurbishment work, due to be completed in 2021.
The project includes entirely new rooms inside the existing building, and bringing an increased capacity to attract bigger-name performers to the town.
Renfrewshire Council is leading the work to turn the much-loved 19th-century architectural gem into a 21st-century facility, hoping to drive new footfall to the area and deliver upgrades to keep it at the heart of local the local community for generations to come.
Features unveiled in the new artist’s impressions include the increased capacity main hall and a new café-bar and dance studio in currently unused space.
There will also be a smaller venue-within-a-venue to host more community events.
The stage is set to be lowered, with new seating installed featuring better sightlines and acoustics.
The multi-million pound work will also include a new reception area, improved access to and around the building, replacement of the building’s decades-old electrical and mechanical equipment, and improved backroom facilities to allow more weddings and conferences.
The investment in the building is part of Renfrewshire Council’s larger improvement work for Paisley town centre, designed to change the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.
Future projects include the transformation of Paisley Museum which will almost quadruple current visitor numbers, a new modern home for library services on the High Street, and major investment in key outdoor spaces such as Abbey Close and County Square to create places which will keep residents, students and visitors in the town for longer.
The town hall’s operators Renfrewshire Leisure have already been speaking to some of Scotland’s top music promoters about using the venue when it reopens.
Regular Music’s Mark Mackie, who is behind the likes of Castle Concerts at Edinburgh Castle and Summer Nights at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand, said: “As a Paisley buddy myself, I’m really excited about the transformation of Paisley Town Hall.
“This investment is great news for gig-goers in the west of Scotland and it’s definitely a venue Regular Music would look to bring bands to.
“The new facilities, refurbished auditorium and café-bar will make it a must-visit venue for bands and audiences.”
Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Paisley Town Hall is a much-loved building which has been at the heart of life in the town for generations – but to keep it there the interior of this beautiful building needs the revamp now being delivered.
“The council is making a substantial investment – not just to do the necessary maintenance to keep the building viable, but to take what it can do to a totally new level.
“As a result, the revamp is predicted to double the number of people who use it each year – bringing new life to the town centre and helping anchor our ongoing wider work to use our outstanding cultural and heritage story to bring new visitors to the area.
“It also means creating a facility in which people will be able to experience world-class culture on their own doorstep, with all the opportunities that means to make people’s lives better.
“And while the renovation is happening we will be making sure everybody knows Paisley continues to remain open for business.”
Initial work to clear out the building is already under way, with stonework and roof repairs taking place over the summer, ahead of main construction work starting towards the end of the year.
The building is due to reopen in late 2021.