Open main menu

Renfrewshire (/ˈrɛnfrʃɪər, -ʃər/; Scots: Renfrewshire, Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù); is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being East Renfrewshire to the east and Inverclyde to the west. It also shares borders with Glasgow, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire, and lies on The southern bank of The River Clyde.

Siorrachd Rinn Friù
Renfrewshire in Scotland.svg
Coat of arms of Renfrewshire Siorrachd Rinn Friù
Coat of arms
Official logo of Renfrewshire Siorrachd Rinn Friù
Coordinates: 55°49′47″N 4°32′34″W / 55.829858°N 4.542838°W / 55.829858; -4.542838Coordinates: 55°49′47″N 4°32′34″W / 55.829858°N 4.542838°W / 55.829858; -4.542838
Admin HQPaisley
 • BodyRenfrewshire Council
 • ControlSNP minority (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total101.0 sq mi (261.5 km2)
Area rankRanked 24th
 (mid-2018 est.)
 • Total176,800
 • RankRanked 10th
 • Density1,750/sq mi (676/km2)
ONS codeS12000038
ISO 3166 codeGB-RFW

The term Renfrewshire may also be used to refer to the historic county, also known as the County of Renfrew or Greater Renfrewshire, which remains in use as a registration county and lieutenancy area. The town of Paisley is the area's main settlement and centre of local government.



Present day Renfrewshire borders the south-west of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages. Renfrewshire also has boundaries with North Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire. Although by area one of Scotland's smallest unitary authorities (excluding the cities), it is one of the country's most populous areas, being the fifth largest unitary authority and the ninth largest including the city authorities.

The ancient county of Renfrewshire covered a larger area — including both Inverclyde and East Renfrewshire. This area still exists in the form of a lieutenancy area and registration county, and has a statutory funding board called the Renfrewshire Valuation Joint Board. The county was traditionally based around its seat, the Royal Burgh of Renfrew and as such was also known as the County of Renfrew.

There was also a district named Renfrew which existed between 1975 and 1996. Renfrew District covered a slightly larger area than the present local authority area, and included the towns of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor, which, following the abolition of Strathclyde Regional Council region in 1996, were transferred into the new East Renfrewshire unitary local authority.

Renfrewshire Council ExecutiveEdit

Renfrewshire House, headquarters of Renfrewshire Council

Renfrewshire Council (Scottish Gaelic: Comhairle Shiorrachd Rinn Friù) is the elected local authority for Renfrewshire, which is one of 32 local council areas in Scotland. The council is based at Renfrewshire House in Paisley.

Renfrewshire Council recently (2011) won more awards than any other council in Scotland at the CoSLA Awards ceremony—winning three gold awards (out of seven) with a further three silver awards.[1] This is the highest number of awards ever won by a single Scottish council since CoSLA started handing out its awards.[2]

Renfrewshire Council is administered by the Scottish National Party. The Provost of Renfrewshire (the council's ceremonial head and convenor) is Lorraine Cameron, while the leader the council and largest political grouping is Iain Nicholson of the Scottish National Party, elected following the 2017 Renfrewshire local council elections.[3]

The council's apolitical employed service is headed by a Chief Executive, who is responsible to the elected council for the delivery of its policies. This executive wing is divided into seven departments: the Chief Executive's Department, Finance and Corporate Services, Education and Leisure Services, Environmental Services, Housing and Property Services, Planning and Transport, and Social Work.[4] Each department is headed by a Director, who is also an non-political, paid member of staff.[5]


Paisley Abbey

Renfrewshire is home to Scotland's second busiest airport, Glasgow International Airport, at Abbotsinch between Paisley and Renfrew. It is served by the M8 motorway, which terminates in the area, just east of Langbank, and is a major artery between northwest and southwest Scotland, via the Erskine Bridge.

The presence of the airport and the proximity to Glasgow means that Renfrewshire supports one of the busiest transport infrastructures in Scotland, and is frequently congested.

Developments to ease traffic flow have included a lifting of tolls on the Erskine Bridge, plans to extend the rail network to connect to the airport, and the M74 extension – which will handle traffic from Renfrewshire heading south, diverting it away from Glasgow city centre.[6]

Renfrewshire also has bus links provided by First Buses, McGill's and other smaller operators.

Places of interest and eventsEdit

Renfrewshire contains several places of interest. In the west of Renfrewshire, Castle Semple Loch at Lochwinnoch and the wider Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park are natural areas of interest, alongside the Gleniffer Braes in the south. Paisley contains several historic buildings and notable sites, including Paisley Abbey, Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory, Paisley Town Hall, Coats Memorial Church, Sma' Shot Cottages and St Mirren Park (home of St Mirren F.C.). Outside of Paisley, Elderslie, the claimed birthplace of Scottish knight William Wallace, contains a monument in his honour, while the Weaver's Cottage at Kilbarchan is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The town of Johnstone is notable for Johnstone Castle (the remains of the former Laird of Houston's mansion), Johnstone High Parish Church and for containing a museum within a supermarket.

The Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire close to the boundary with Glasgow is home to leading professional basketball team, the Scottish Rocks, who compete in the British Basketball League. The arena was also host to the 2000 Ford World Curling Championships.


Glencoats Primary in Ferguslie Park, one of Renfrewshire's fifty-one primary schools

Renfrewshire has 11 secondary schools, 51 primary schools and 3 schools for children with additional support needs. Further education is provided by Paisley Campus of West College Scotland in Paisley, which caters to around 20,000 students. The college also has sites in Inverclyde and West Dumbartonshire.[7]

The University of the West of Scotland is the single higher education provider in Renfrewshire; a new university the UWS was granted university status in 1992 as the University of Paisley. Prior to this, the Paisley Technical College and School of Art was a Central Institution or polytechnic. In 2007 the university merged with Bell College, a further education college in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire and the UWS name was adopted. The university today has sites across the west of Scotland, notably also in Ayr and a joint campus in Dumfries; the main campus remains in Paisley.

As of 2017, the director within Renfrewshire Council responsible for all aspects of educational provision across Renfrewshire is Peter McLeod in his capacity as Direction of Children's Services.[8] In addition to being responsible for all aspects of educational provision, the Director of Children's Services is also responsible for areas such as the children's social work department and the criminal justice social work department.[8] Current educational priorities within Renfrewshire include the tackling of poverty in childhood and education, raising the educational attainment in children, addressing inequalities relating to health and social aspects and ensuring all children in Renfrewshire reach their full potential.[8]

Towns and villagesEdit


Following the results of the 2015 United Kingdom general election and 2016 Scottish Parliament election, all of Renfrewshire's parliamentarians are of the Scottish National Party, with the council administered by an SNP minority administration elected in the 2017 Scottish local elections.

Current Council Composition (2017–present)Edit

Party Councillors
Scottish National Party 19
Labour 13
Scottish Conservative Party 8
Independents 2
Liberal Democrat 1

From 2017, the current Provost of Renfrewshire is Lorraine Cameron, who also represents the Paisley Southwest (Ward 7)

Electoral wardsEdit

For the purposes of elections to Renfrewshire Council, the Renfrewshire area is divided geographically into a number of wards which then elect either three or four councillors each by the Single Transferable Vote system. The electoral system of local councils in Scotland is governed by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, an Act of the Scottish Parliament which first introduced proportional representation to councils. These electoral wards, following a 2017 review and first used in the 2017 Renfrewshire Council election are as follows:[9]

Ward 1: Renfrew North and Braehead (4 councillors)
Ward 2: Renfrew South & Gallowhill (3 councillors)
Ward 3: Paisley Northeast & Ralston (3 councillors)
Ward 4: Paisley Northwest (4 councillors)
Ward 5: Paisley East and Central (3 councillors)
Ward 6: Paisley Southeast (3 councillors)
Ward 7: Paisley Southwest (4 councillors)
Ward 8: Johnstone South and Elderslie (4 councillors)
Ward 9: Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch (4 councillors)
Ward 10: Houston, Crosslee & Linwood (4 councillors)
Ward 11: Bishopton, Bridge of Weir & Langbank (3 councillors)
Ward 12: Erskine & Inchinnan (4 councillors)

Parliament election resultsEdit

Renfrewshire is represented by three constituencies in the Scottish Parliament: Renfrewshire North and West (Derek Mackay), Paisley (George Adam) and Renfrewshire South (Tom Arthur).

The two constituencies covering Renfrewshire in the Westminster Parliament are Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Paisley and Renfrewshire South. The constituencies are represented by Gavin Newlands and Mhairi Black respectively.

Referendum resultsEdit

A majority of Renfrewshire rejected independence in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum, with 55,466 (47.2%) votes cast in favour and 62,067 (52.8%) against, on a high turnout of 117,612 (87.3%).

With a turnout of 69.2% (88,197), Renfrewshire voted to remain in the 2016 European Union membership referendum with 64.8% (57,119) of votes cast against 35.2% (31,010) votes in favour of Leave.

Boundary disputeEdit

Braehead is a large commercial development in the east of the council area comprising shopping and leisure facilities. After opening in 1999, the development was subject of a boundary dispute between Glasgow and Renfrewshire, as originally the council boundary line divided the shopping centre in two. In 2002, a Local Government Boundary Commission ruling eventually redrew the boundary to include all of the centre in Renfrewshire, as this was the original ancient boundary.[10] The boundary runs along Kings Inch Drive and is marked by a chain linked fence at this point.[11]


  1. ^ "Paisley News". Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  2. ^ "therealmackay". 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  3. ^ team, Renfrewshire Communications. "Key appointments made at first Renfrewshire Council meeting of new session".
  4. ^ "Renfrewshire Community" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  5. ^ [1] Archived August 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ [2] Archived June 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ [3] Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c team, Renfrewshire Communications. "Children's Services".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Glasgow MSPs lose Braehead battle". BBC News. 7 May 2002. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  11. ^

External linksEdit