Back to main website

Leaders Blog - December 2018

As many of you will know, this month I will be stepping down from my role as Leader of Warrington Borough Council.

I have been extremely proud to serve, for the past seven years, as Leader of the town I love and was born and brought up in, and stepping down certainly wasn’t an easy decision. But I feel it is the right time, and I am confident that the work we are doing to guide Warrington through these challenging times will continue.

As a Council, we’ve achieved some great things over the past year, despite the huge financial pressures we – and other local authorities across the country – are facing.

Our economic renaissance continues, with the major redevelopment of our town centre continuing at pace. This has been supplemented with the establishment of a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town centre, which sees more than 400 businesses working together to make the heart of Warrington more economically vibrant, safer, cleaner and greener.

We have continued to invest in our neighbourhoods and green spaces, including the rejuvenation of parks and community centres, along with major public realm improvements in areas like Bewsey and Dallam.

We have also kept Warrington moving over the past 12 months, with the completion of the M62, junction 8 scheme, easing congestion at one of the most important and heavily-used access points into west Warrington. Meanwhile, the Warrington East highways improvement scheme is progressing really well, part of our plans to reduce congestion, improve road safety and support employment, particularly in Birchwood Park and its Enterprise Zone.

To achieve all of this while keeping council tax rates at one of the lowest in the North West is a real achievement, and something to be proud of.

There is much more to do, in particular, supporting and protecting our most vulnerable residents and resisting locally damaging Government policies which may lead to more inequality.

A challenging future certainly lies ahead. The pressure on the Council budget is increasing with the decimation of Government funding. By 2020 we will have no Government funding from the revenue support grant. But what gives me great hope is the steps we are taking as a Council to do things differently, to use our assets creatively and to make innovative investments which are bringing in extra income, so we can continue providing vital Council services for the people who need them most.

It is this innovation, this creativity, this commercial ‘can do’ attitude and this passion to deliver the services that our residents rely upon which convinces me that, as I leave my role as Council Leader, we are well equipped to deal with the challenges ahead.

Of course, our immediate thoughts are now turned towards Christmas, and the chance to spend time with loved ones. It is fantastic to see our town centre filled with Christmas cheer, from the sparkling lights, to the giant reindeer sculptures; and from the festive teepee to the range of Christmas events taking place at Warrington Market. Seeing the town centre at its best in this way reminds me of how much we have to look forward to over the coming year.

2019 will be a really exciting time for Warrington, as construction gathers pace on the Time Square development. We will see the emergence of a first class destination for local people and visitors alike.  The new market hall, new restaurants and public square, new Council offices and a state-of-the-art multiplex will revitalise our town centre, delivering the diverse, vibrant and high quality leisure and retail offer this great town deserves.

And there’s much more to look forward to in the next 12 months, including the return of the Neighbourhood Weekender, bringing some of the biggest names in music to Victoria Park. Our historic Golden Gates will be shining once more as they return to the Town Hall following their refurbishment. Restoration work will be completed on one of the jewels in our crown, Walton Hall’s glasshouses. And the Centre Park Link scheme will get under way, easing town centre traffic and helping to maximise Warrington’s economic potential.

Although I am stepping down as Council Leader, I will be carrying on in my role as a ward councillor for Burtonwood. It’s the people of this borough who make it such a great place to be, and it continues to be a privilege to represent them, and make sure they have a voice in an ever-changing Warrington.

It only remains for me to wish you and your family a very Merry, joy-filled and peaceful Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.