Renfrewshire Council urged to ensure strong security at existing Paisley Grammar School once historic building empty

Councillor Eddie Devine standing outside Paisley Grammar School
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Neil)


Council chiefs have been urged to install strong security measures at the existing Paisley Grammar School to prevent fire-raising when the historic building is eventually vacated.

Concerns have been raised that the B-listed building in Glasgow Road could become a target for antisocial behaviour once staff and pupils have moved into the new school in Renfrew Road, which is expected to open in 2026. The current Paisley Grammar site and buildings were declared surplus to Renfrewshire Council's operational requirements at a meeting of the infrastructure, land and environment policy board.

The aim is to allow the property, which was designed by Thomas Abercrombie, to be marketed in plenty of time for a sale to be completed and subsequently avoid it lying empty for a long period of time. Speaking at the board, Councillor Eddie Devine, who represents Paisley Southeast, asked: "I'm happy that this building is going up for sale – hopefully sooner rather than later – but could we do the best we can for security and make sure that this building doesn't end up accidentally going on fire or it spontaneously combusts?

"Things like that sometimes happen in Renfrewshire...not by us. But could we make sure whoever takes it over or if we put it up for sale that it's got proper security on it? It's a great building, I know it's done, but it's a great building inside for the architecture and things like that."

Councillor Michelle Campbell, board convener and SNP representative for Erskine and Inchinnan, responded: "I think that's a reasonable comment, it's been taken on board and the officers will take note of that view in relation to that in terms of the security."

A report to the board clarified that any prospective buyer would be expected to comply with the local authority's development brief – a document that identifies factors to be considered when preparing proposals for the site. Gordon McNeil, the council's director of environment, housing and infrastructure, said: "It's important to acknowledge the school is still in use.

"It's going to be in use for the next couple of years and the aspiration is obviously to bring this report, start to market the property in the hope that there will be firstly a buyer, secondly then a planning proposal could come forward for consideration by the council and the time period in which the property is sitting empty is as small as possible.

"That will obviously be subject to any bids that come forward but that's the reason for trying to bring this forward at the earliest opportunity now that the contracts are in place and are commencing for the newbuild."

Speaking after the board, Councillor Devine explained: "I think it's important the security measures the council eventually puts in place at the Paisley Grammar are robust to protect the building from any potential antisocial behaviour or fire-raising. The main building is an impressive piece of architecture."

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