THE campaign leader for Paisley’s failed UK City of Culture bid insists the area is still undergoing a cultural transformation.

Jean Cameron, who led her home patch’s bid to be the first town ever shortlisted in the competition, said that despite losing out to Coventry, a change was taking place in Paisley.

She pointed to Dundee, which was beaten by Hull for the 2017 title, but has gone on to become the site for the new V&A design museum, due to open later this year.

Cameron said Dundee was a “guiding star in terms of losing out on being crowned.

“It doesn’t mean you don’t have a really successful bidding period and a sense of transformation and ambition,” she said. “I really look to Dundee and the positivity that grown from it [the failed bid].

She added: “Paisley is telling a new story about itself to the world as a result of remembering its authenticity and what it stands for and the talent that is in and around Paisley. It has stepped into that spotlight very comfortably.”

Cameron said that aside from improved social benefits and civic pride fostered by the bid process, there was “massive” investment from Renfrewshire Council “both in terms of capital infrastructure and the council approving a legacy plan from the bid”.

The town’s new confidence was mirrored by the football team’s success at the weekend in the Paisley 2021 stadium, she said.

St Mirren have been crowned champions of the league and will move into the next division and “I think the football team in itself is a good example of how we do things in Paisley – 29 per cent fan ownership, a family club and the ground won the family friendly stadium of Scotland earlier this year and were great champions for the bid.”

Although Paisley lost out on the culture title, the £42 million revamp of the Paisley Museum will still go ahead as the flagship project in the town’s cultural regeneration. Scheduled to open in 2022, it is intended to showcase internationally-renowned collections and tell the story of the town’s unique textile heritage.

Also in 2022, a major £22m internal redesign of Paisley Town Hall, a treasured civic landmark, is expected to be completed, creating a modern multi-purpose venue in the town’s Abbey quarter.

Meanwhile, £10m has been invested in transforming the town centre. New new event spaces, new lighting and traffic systems and improved accommodation for locals will all be created.

An additional £2.5m is being spent on the historic church that is now Paisley Arts Centre to provide a modern building with new performance facilities while a £5m investment will create a new state-of-the-art library and cultural centre in the High Street.

A £7.7m investment in the St James Playing Fields complex will also create enhance sports facilities and provide a venue for major outdoor events and festivals.?Elsewhere other signs of progress include an online destination brand and official guide to visiting Paisley and Renfrewshire and the formation of a new Arts and Health Partnership Group to drive forward the arts in the health service.

In addition, a £5m investment recently announced by Renfrewshire Council will support a burgeoning events calendar, with funding available to stage new cultural events, deliver large-scale festivals and support emerging talent.?Over the next three years there will also be a £400,000 investment in businesses from a new council fund set up to help companies in the local creative and cultural sectors.