University buildings to be demolished after deliberate fire

Unused university campus buildings are to be demolished after a large-scale deliberate fire last night.

Emergency services were called at around 7pm on Sunday to a fire at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) Thornly Park Campus on Caplethill Road, to the south of the town.

Firefighters found a blaze in some of the unoccupied student buildings.

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The site is home to a controversial planning application for housing. UWS and housebuilders Miller Homes want to develop the 28-acre unused site but local campaigners, calling themselves Save Paisley’s Green Space, have objected.

Scottish Fire and Rescue confirmed three pumps attended the incident last night and one remained on site overnight until just after 10am this morning in case of any isolated hotspots.

Deliberate fire at Thornly Park UWS campus
Firefighters can be seen on ladders tackling the blaze

Police said the damage caused to the buildings is so extensive they will need to be demolished.

They have confirmed they are treating the fire in the unoccupied site as wilful and are appealing for witnesses.

A spokesperson for Paisley police said: “We are appealing for information regarding a wilful fire-raising at UWS Robertson Campus, Caplethill Road, Paisley which happened on Sunday 12th June 2022 at about 7pm.

“The large-scale fire has caused the buildings to be left in a dangerous state requiring them to be demolished.

“Anyone who has information in relation to this incident is asked to contact Paisley CID on 101, quoting incident number 2641 of 12th.

“You can also contact Crimestoppers to pass on information anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The proposals by UWS and Miller Homes include bulldozing the sports pitches, disused student accommodation and Robertson Sports Centre. They were rejected at council level last year due to them not including any plans for affordable homes.

But a Scottish Government reporter has since signalled their intention to grant the application following an appeal, subject to the applicants and council shaking hands on a section 75 legal agreement.

Before any planning permission can be granted, the council needs to finalise details of a financial contribution from the developers towards replacement sports pitches and St Andrew’s Academy, as well as agree on the level and type of affordable housing to be provided.

The council has already said developers would need to cough up almost half a million pounds to ensure St Andrew’s could take on more children, according to appeal documents.

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Daily Record – Paisley