Plans are being submitted to Renfrewshire Council which would safeguard the future of one of Paisley’s best loved buildings, Thomas Coats Memorial Church.
The project would see the church transformed into a world class events and entertainment venue which could be used for arts performances, concerts and weddings. Looking to retain the striking features of this gothic inspired building, the proposal would see minimal alterations to the fabric of the building which has been under threat for many years due to rising maintenance costs.
Plans, which have support from Historic Environment Scotland, include a distinct theatre performance space and banqueting facility.
With an imposing position at the top of the town’s High Street, the church was commissioned by the family of Thomas Coats of Ferguslie in his memory and completed in 1894.
Known colloquially as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe, its spired gothic design is famous the world over. However, this stunning building needs significant investment to be preserved for future generations.
With a dwindling congregation and a lack of essential funds required to maintain this iconic building, it is important that action is taken now.
Following year long discussions, a steering group has been working with the current trustees for the last six months to explore options to preserve this important landmark in Paisley’s history.
With the support of the trustees, a new vision has emerged to take this building forward and provide a resource which will benefit the town of Paisley for many years to come. The man behind the project is Paisley entrepreneur, Ian Henderson, who serves as Chairman of Paisley First Business Improvement District and also sits on the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board.
“I have long been an admirer of this stunning building and like many Buddies, I am concerned that it may be lost to future generations if urgent action isn’t taken,” said Ian.
“As well as creating a world class venue for the arts and events, this proposal would also allow the continuation of University of West Scotland graduations at the church.
“Preserving this magnificent and historically important building now will bring benefits to all in the community.”
Speaking on behalf of the existing trustees, Allan Driver, said: “The existing trustees have spent a significant number of years trying to find a sustainable solution which will safeguard the future of the building, which is too important to be lost to the people of Paisley.
“Of all the options investigated, this is the proposal which we believe provides the most secure future for Thomas Coats Memorial Church.”
The plans being submitted to Renfrewshire Council, for a change of use for the building, would also allow for the continued use of the church by community groups who are currently based there.
The current trustees of the church would hand the building over to a new trust, Coats Memorial Church Paisley Ltd, comprising of local business people who are all keen to ensure this Paisley landmark is preserved.
It’s expected the funding for the project would be a combination of private investment and grant funding. The application to Renfrewshire Council has been submitted today and is subject to a 21 day consultation period.
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