Controversial regeneration plans for Paisley’s Causeyside Street could “spell the end of the road” for many businesses, it has been warned.
Hundreds of people have signed a petition over the project, which Renfrewshire Council hopes can boost active travel and public transport connections in the town centre area, while improving parking and traffic flow.
But some remain unconvinced – and increasingly worried – by the proposals that involve a cycle route between Canal Street and Gilmour Street stations, linked into National Cycle Route 7, separated from both the main road carriageway and pedestrians.
Business owners fear the planned changes, which also include so-called ‘floating bus stops’, could cause congestion and put off customers from visiting shops on the busy street.
Concerns have already been raised about factors such as pedestrian safety, with cyclists expected to give way to people crossing the path at points, and level of demand for the plans.
Colette Cardosi, chair of Paisley First, the business improvement district, called on the local authority to “listen” and “rethink their plans” in a statement.
She said: “Paisley First has launched the petition on behalf of businesses on Causeyside Street and neighbouring streets as they do not feel their concerns around this proposal have been properly addressed.
“We have arranged a meeting between the council and local businesses for Monday, March 27, for the businesses to be given another opportunity to seek answers to the issues raised.
“Local businesses are already struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis, but these proposals in their current form are likely to spell the end of the road for many long-standing and valuable businesses.
“We are urging Renfrewshire Council to listen to the concerns regarding safety, impacts on businesses and local residents, as well as environmental concerns and to rethink their plans.”
The council tried to allay any fears surrounding the project as part of a recent engagement exercise, which officers said wasn’t a “one and done” at January’s infrastructure, land and environment policy board.
It assured there would be no loss of parking, but rather the addition of 46 permanent on-street spaces and eight loading bays.
However, the plans have not secured the confidence of local businesses, according to Kenny Fallon, owner of Kenneth Edward Hair.
“I’m very concerned about it,” the 55-year-old, who has had a business in Paisley for 34 years, said.
“I don’t think I’d be able to survive if it goes ahead.
“Over the space of a couple of years, it would mean a relocation for me.
“Even some of my neighbours across the road, they’re not signing their leases again, everybody’s hanging fire to wait and see what’s happening.
“When I speak to them, there might be other business decisions, but they’ve all said this was the final peg.
“They have just said, ‘with that coming up, we’re just done’. It’s the only part of Paisley that’s left that’s buoyant and busy – leave it alone.”
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “As we have throughout this process, we’re happy to meet with businesses and the community around the plans for Causeyside Street and all feedback from two engagement periods has helped form the current designs.
“We want to make clear that the project will not change the number of traffic lanes currently in use at the moment, as one lane is regularly blocked by illegal parking.
“To meet the obvious demand and support people to visit businesses, we will add 46 new parking spaces, including outside the hairdressers, and 8 loading bays for businesses along this stretch – and we’re happy to agree with them the best locations for the loading bays.
“Traffic flow will be improved, the road and footway will be resurfaced, there will be better access to bus stops and a two-way cycle route will provide a safe link between our two town centre train stations and the National Cycle Route 7.
“This is an important regeneration project that will provide immediate and long-term benefits to communities and businesses in Paisley.”
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