IT boasts a proud history taking in the boom and bust of the industrial revolution and the rise of political radicalism.

Now plans have been unveiled to transform Paisley town centre by breathing fresh life into its streets and bringing empty shops back into use.

A new study by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture lays out a series of radical ideas for how the town can be “rebalanced” for the future.

Colourful artist’s impressions show a widened high street bustling with life, outlining how the area could look in ten years’ time – albeit with an optimistic view of Scottish weather.

Suggestions for the town’s revamp include repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping hub into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail, as well as introducing a European-style food hall housing independent bars and eateries.

Public spaces for outdoor activity could also be introduced, alongside lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre.

Meanwhile, vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use, and a high street cinema opened to attract visitors.

Parts of university and college campuses could also be relocated into the heart of the town centre.

SNP Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said the study “represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners”.

She said: “A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.”

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ study is the result of a unique collaboration between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership, and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas which could also be implemented elsewhere.

It aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s unsuccessful bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

This includes a £100 million investment in its venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said towns everywhere are struggling with the same issues around empty retail spaces.

He said: “We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the new study, said it showed “a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre”.

He said: “As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said it fully backed the plans.

He said: “It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision.

“This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre.”