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Leaders Blog - November 2018

I’m sure you will have noticed that a certain something is conspicuous by its absence at Warrington Town Hall at the moment – our historic Golden Gates.


It’s certainly strange to look from Sankey Street, across Bank Park, to the Town Hall, and not see the gates standing proudly in the foreground.


The gates have now been carefully dismantled and removed by specialists, Hall Conservation Ltd, and transported to the company’s engineering workshop to be fully inspected, repainted and repaired.


This work is much-needed. The gates were last refurbished almost 40 years ago, and were showing clear signs of deterioration. I’m determined that we invest in our cultural heritage and protect our key assets. Our Grade II* listed gates are certainly an example of that.


For those of you who are missing the sight of the gates – worry not. In the coming weeks, the temporary construction site fencing will be replaced by a containment structure, providing a full size digital reproduction of the gates. And in early 2019, we’ll have the real thing back, as our iconic gates are returned to Warrington, restored to their former glory, for future generations to enjoy.


Speaking of future generations, it’s great to see the start of a new project aimed at unlocking the full potential of young people in the key areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.


Registered charity, Primary Engineer, has launched a three-year pilot to inspire Warrington primary school children to study these ‘STEM’ subjects. This is really important. Nationally, the UK needs more than 100,000 new Engineers every year. And, of course, Warrington is home to several world class engineering companies, many of whom are part of a 6,000 strong cluster at Birchwood Park. It is crucial that we help to grow the next generation of engineers, to ensure that the sector continues to contribute strongly to the local economy.


Warrington & Co will be actively involved in the project, especially in making introductions to local primary schools. Several organisations are supporting it financially and by providing experienced Engineers. Of these, Cavendish Nuclear (Babcock) has offered to fund the entire cost of the three year pilot. This removes the need for the Council to take on any of the spending, which, in the current financial climate, is great news.


Something which I don’t believe will be such good news for Warrington is the proposed HS2 Golborne link. I remain opposed to it, given its limited benefits and the hugely negative environmental and economic impact it will have on the eastern part of the borough.


I continue to represent Warrington in these important discussions.  HS2 will be holding local consultation events in November which I urge you to attend.  The first event is on 14 November from 2pm until 8pm at Rixton-with-Glazebrook Community Hall and the second is on 28 November from 2pm until 8pm at Culcheth Sports Club.


I also remain concerned about a number of government decisions – and the potential implications for people here in Warrington.


The recent reports on the introduction of Universal Credit suggest that it is having a negative impact on the people who require the most support. This raises real questions about how it will affect Warrington’s vulnerable people. It’s really important that we understand this, so I have asked the Chief Executive to carry out a review of the impact.


Finally, I’d like to congratulate the Warrington Wolves for a great season – reaching two finals was a fantastic achievement.  Although, in the end, we didn’t get the results we wanted, it still goes down as a really strong season, which got the whole of Warrington buzzing with excitement.  The Wire continue to be a flagship for our town, helping raise our profile, inspiring sporting participation and boosting our economy. 


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