Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:24 UK

Town centre car ban may be lifted

Paisley High Street
Under the proposal cars would regain access to Paisley High Street

A Scottish council is considering lifting a ban on cars in the central shopping area of its biggest town.

Under proposals from Renfrewshire Council, Paisley High Street could be reopened to traffic to encourage more shoppers back into the town.

The area was pedestrianised in 1997 and since then local retailers have been campaigning to have cars back.

Several other streets have already been opened up to traffic on an experimental basis.

Causeyside Street, St Mirren Street and Gauze street have all been "depedestrianised" in what is thought to be the one of the first schemes of its kind in Scotland.

Local shop owners had reported a 50% slump in sales due to people heading to out-of-town shopping centres like Braehead.

The council has put the proposal, which would see Paisley High Street and Gilmour Street opened to traffic, out to public consultation. Residents have until Thursday to make their views known.

Paisley is dead anyway. Everybody goes to places like Braehead and Glasgow
Janet Smith

The four options being considered are no change; streets open to traffic at all times; pedestrians only from 1030 until 1600; or pedestrians only from 1230 until 1600.

The leader of Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Derek Mackay, said: "When pedestrianisation was delivered in the town a lot of people felt it went too far and was over restrictive.

"We want to bring people back into the heart of the town.

"By giving better access we can help showcase what Paisley has to offer and generate more activity and life in the town centre, particularly at night."

The council insisted the move would not be an expensive one.

Mr Mackay added: "The current lay out of the High Street is very attractive and amenable to car access which would mean, with a fairly limited budget, we could cars back in on a shared basis with pedestrians."

Out-of-town shopping

Shoppers on the High Street on Wednesday had mixed views about the proposals.

Eamon Hood, 44, said: "I think it may bring some more money into the town with people going up and down and seeing the shops and the different things Paisley has to offer."

However, Jean Burnett, 34, said: "I don't know that cars going up and down is a great idea. Although there is not a lot of shops, I think people are so used to being able to walk up and down easily."

Another shopper, Janet Smith, added: "Paisley is dead anyway. Everybody goes to places like Braehead and Glasgow. I don't think it will make any difference at all."

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