Ambitious plans to open a new bus station in Paisley were handed a boost when Transport Minister Keith Brown came to town.
Blueprints for the transport hub – on a site in Incle Street, behind the former Arnotts store – have been drawn up by Paisley businessman Gary Kerr and are being supported by the town’s MSP George Adam.
They were both on hand to welcome Mr Brown as he ran the rule over the designs and was given a tour of the proposed site.
Mr Kerr, 47, said: “Anyone who knows me knows my commitment to Paisley.
“These are serious plans to make the town a major transport hub, with Gilmour Street train station, the M8 motorway and Glasgow Airport right on our doorstep.
“It is time to join these up, as well as encouraging people to shop and take advantage of the retail and leisure activities that will open up with this development.”
Mr Kerr, who runs engineering consultancy firm EPM Solutions, produced the plans for a proposed bus station free of charge and in his own time.
And Paisley MSP Mr Adam took up the cause after meeting Mr Kerr and realising they shared the same goals.
Mr Adam believes the meeting with Mr Brown was successful but has called for more support from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which is the organisation responsible for implementing bus services in the area.
“I was informed almost 10 months ago that SPT were imminently producing a report on a bus station for Paisley,” said Mr Adam. “We are still waiting for that report, which is a disappointment.
“SPT is the organisation which would be responsible for the creation of any transport hub like this but waiting almost a year for a first ‘imminent’ report is too long and Renfrewshire Council is paying £3million a year to SPT.
“Eventually, we must look at getting value for money for the payments or, at the very least, being open to improvements to the transport system.
“These are just proposals from someone who wants the best for the town but it shows what can be done if vision and passion are what drive you.”
Mr Brown said he looks forward to hearing more about the bus station plans as they are developed.
He added: “The Scottish Government is always keen to listen to suggestions for improvements that will encourage people to get out of their cars and use public transport.
“This visit has enabled me to see at first hand the local community’s early aspirations for this bus station.”