A board of Warrington’s business, community and political leaders have met to discuss an ambitious funding bid of up to £25 million as part of the government’s Towns Fund initiative.
The Warrington Town Deal board has been set up to identify areas where a compelling case for funding can be put forward to contribute to, and complement, the work already being delivered to regenerate the town.
In September 2019, the government invited 101 places – including Warrington – to bring forward proposals for a Town Deal as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund. Part of the bid process requires Warrington’s Town Deal board to produce an investment plan to detail its ambitions and areas where funding would be welcomed.
The objectives of the Towns Fund are to support regeneration through:
- Skills and enterprise infrastructure – ensuring towns have the space and skills for smaller businesses to thrive
- Connectivity – developing transport schemes that complement other regional and national networks, as well as improving digital connectivity
- Urban regeneration, planning and land use – strategically building up places for people to live and work in the town centre and strengthening the town’s existing and cultural assets
Warrington’s board is therefore focusing on projects and proposals that will drive long-term prosperity for the town centre. As part of the funding bid, the Town Deal board is considering how funding could be used for:
- Town centre accessibility and travel – enhancing transport access, promoting active travel and public transport to support fewer cars in the town centre.
- A local walking and cycling improvement plan – to identify the type of infrastructure improvements needed to support a trebling of cycling over the next 20 years in the town
- Bus priority and corridor treatments – considering how key transport corridors and congestion pinch points can be improved to create better access to buses throughout the borough
- Social care skills academy – focusing on the growing need to fill a skills gap in the adult social care sector to make sure our older people are getting the support and care they need into the future
- Creative digital, arts and culture development – repurposing the high street with a flourishing cultural and visitor economy
- Town centre living – investing in more housing in the town centre
Over the coming months, these key themes and areas will be explored in more detail as part of a rigorous engagement programme.
Chair of the Warrington Town Deal board, Matt Crompton, MD Muse Developments, said: “This is an opportunity for Warrington to stake its claim and bid for funding to give the town centre another welcome boost.
“There is an exciting amount of regeneration and economic investment in Warrington at the moment, with shared ambitions between business and community leaders to make the town even better for those who live and work here.
“The chance to receive further funding from government through the Towns Fund, helping to deliver schemes to make Warrington even more successful, is something that we cannot pass up.”
Warrington Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Prof Steven Broomhead, who is also vice chair of the board, added: “Warrington’s Town Deal board has only met once but we have already made positive steps forward.
“It’s clear that despite the collective work being done to improve the town centre, there is still more for us to achieve. Being successful in receiving funding to support our continued regeneration and development is, therefore, a shared commitment for all of the board’s members.
“Whilst we believe the key themes and areas we have identified need further exploration, it’s essential we hear from those who live, work and visit Warrington, to gather views that will help shape the thrust of our bid. We’ll be meeting with identified stakeholders for various focus groups but any ideas are welcome – nothing is off the table!”
You can share your views and suggestions for how money should be invested in Warrington by visiting mytown.communities.gov.uk/town/warrington/