The green light has been given by Renfrewshire Council to transform the former TA building on Paisley’s High Street.
The Council approved the extensive proposals put forward by the Paisley-based construction firm, The JR Group, to build state-of-the-art student accommodation for the nearby University of the West of Scotland, bringing one of the city’s most iconic buildings back to life.
Despite being subject to vandals and firebugs in recent years, the group plan to retain the historic frontage of the Category ‘B’ Listed building, as well as constructing a further two buildings on the site.
With plans now agreed, the renovation and construction work is expected to begin in early 2021 for completion within 18-24 months.
Many regard the renovation of this building as the last piece of the puzzle for Paisley’s High Street, with the adjacent Paisley Museum & Art Gallery and Coats Memorial Church both subject to their own renovation plans.
The JR Group are set to restore the historic façade and existing accommodation building to its former glory and provide additional vital accommodation for foreign students attending the nearby University.
Each of the 196 high-specification rooms – 10 of which are wheelchair accessible – will boast state-of-the-art features and will provide break out areas, laundry facilities and ample amenity space.
The JR Group has worked closely with a range of partners, including architect Carson & Partners, conservation architect John Gilbert Architects, engineers Cowal Design, planning consultants Iceni, fire engineer Astute, M&E consultant Hawthorne & Boyle, cost consultants NBM, and consultants M&M Management and City Heart to get secure the approval of the exciting plans for this site.
The team at The Group structured the deal to purchase the iconic building in late 2019 and led an exhibition and public consultation showcasing the company’s plans back in January 2020.
John Horne, Director of The JR Group, said: “Getting the green light on this landmark development has been a long time in the making and we are delighted to have our plans approved by Renfrewshire Council. It is a site that many are keen to see it redeveloped and brought back to life so we look forward to getting started with works in early 2021.
“We are a Paisley-based firm so it means a little bit more to be transforming what has been an eyesore for the city for more than 20 years and reinvigorating a key part of Paisley’s history and ensuring its future for many years to come.”
The former TA drill hall was originally built in 1896 and was designed by famous Paisley architect Thomas Graham Abercrombie who was also responsible for Paisley Grammar School and the former YMCA building in the city’s New Street.
Photo: How the state-of-the-art student accommodation is expected to look once complete