Warrington has submitted a pioneering and ambitious bid for up to £25 million funding as part of the Towns Fund initiative.
The Towns Fund is a national programme aimed at investing £3.6 billion into 101 towns in the country.
By submitting a funding plan at this stage, Warrington will be one of the first eligible towns to submit a finalised Town Deal plan. Warrington’s plan explains how funding of up to £25 million would support the delivery of a string of transformative projects which, although based in and around the town centre, would bring benefits to the whole of Warrington.
What projects are included in Warrington’s Plan?
Warrington’s Town Deal plan outlines seven core projects that would help to provide long-lasting benefits to the town. The plan includes funding proposals for:
- A health and social care academy – which will support workers to integrate the latest technology into their work, and will offer opportunities to build a social care workforce in Warrington fit for the future.
- A health and wellbeing hub in the town centre – which will help reduce health deprivation and improve quality of life, as well as increasing accessibility to healthcare and wellbeing services. The hub would be developed in vacant retail space in the town centre and will help provide more mental health services, assessments for older people and access to a range of council health and wellbeing services.
- An advanced construction training centre – which will develop sustainable building skills and provide an opportunity to reskill people in sectors that have declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project would provide training across many disciplines including housebuilding, surveying, plumbing and civil engineering.
- An all-electric bus fleet depot – which will provide the stimulus for the full electrification of a Warrington bus fleet and replace the current Warrington’s Own Buses depot with land for sustainable housing.
- A comprehensive active travel programme – putting in place the right infrastructure to encourage more walking and cycling throughout the town centre. This would include redesigning key town centre streets with cyclists and pedestrians in mind, establishing a Community Cycle Hub in the town centre and would ensure a series of bus priority measures to encourage people to take public or active transport methods.
- A digital enterprise hub – which would be aimed at supporting all aspects of digital and disruptive technologies.
- A remastered cultural hub at the Pyramid – which will nurture the arts professionals of the future, providing a modern and flexible creative space to collaborate, produce, present and perform. A refurbished Pyramid will improve Warrington’s cultural offering, attracting a range of high quality touring artists, as well as providing a platform to showcase our own local talent.
How did Warrington’s Town Deal Board come up with the proposals?
The Warrington Town Deal board first met in January to discuss the possible areas that would benefit from Towns Fund support. The board, consisting of Warrington’s business, leisure, education and political leaders, explored how the town centre’s accessibility, transport, social care, housing, creative and cultural aspects could benefit from up to £25 million funding.
Following initial meetings, a public engagement consultation was launched, with ideas for where the funding could be spent submitted online and at physical events. The ideas and thoughts submitted by the public, alongside feedback as part of the focused group discussions, helped inform the seven key projects that Warrington has submitted for funding.
Chair of the Town Deal board for Warrington, Matt Crompton, MD of Muse Developments, said: “Our Towns Fund plan for Warrington has been a long time coming and has relied on the knowledge, experience and expertise of many of Warrington’s leading business, education and industry figures. I am pleased that we have shown ambition in our funding bid and the seven projects we have submitted would be truly transformative for Warrington.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many unforeseen challenges, so to be successful in our Towns Fund bid – regardless of if we achieve the full funding ask or funding for specific projects – would be a huge boost.
Vice chair of Warrington’s Town Deal board, Chief Executive of Warrington Borough Council, Prof. Steven Broomhead, said: “Our Towns Fund bid is a perfect representation of how we can harness the collective power and ambition of Warrington’s business, community and political leaders, alongside our residents – who have been key in shaping the thrust of our bid.
“Our bid has focused on feedback raised by the people of Warrington and I’m hopeful for a positive outcome that can help us to realise our vision for a reinvigorated town centre. The projects we have included in our funding bid are centred around having long-lasting impacts that will be felt for generations.”