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Happy new year...

Hello and welcome to my first blog of 2013.  It's been a busy few weeks since my last post, not least because of the bumper calendar of festivities in the town centre.

I hope everyone who took part in the lantern parade on 13 December enjoyed the spectacular light show that ended proceedings at the town hall.  This was one of my personal seasonal highlights and I have received some really positive feedback about it from many different people.  I was also pleased to see the town centre bustling and busy in the countdown to Christmas, I'd like to thank our town centre and market staff, those from Culture Warrington and local traders who made this year extra special.

Last month I was very proud to welcome 22 of our 26 new apprentices to the town hall to pick up their contracts, this was a very special occasion for me, I really enjoyed meeting our new recruits and I am looking forward to seeing them at work in the near future.  Helping our young people to not only get into work but forge a lasting career is a priority for this council and for me as well.

I'm also pleased to say the Omega development in north Warrington continues to gather pace, a second planning application was approved last month and I don't doubt others will soon follow.  This is excellent news for Warrington and beyond as thousands of jobs are expected to be delivered at the site once it is complete and many more will be created as part of the construction works.  This really shows that 'Warrington Means Business'.

2013 promises to be an interesting year for the town with the publication of the Warrington Skills Commission report in the coming weeks, the redevelopment of Bridge Street and Time Square kicking off along with the Rugby League World Cup in the autumn.

Finally, I'd like to offer a massive thanks to all council staff who worked throughout the festive season to ensure those most in need in our communities continued to receive the valuable services they depend upon.

I'll sign off by wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year and reminding you all that the council's budget consultation is open for comments and contributions until Friday 11 January, find out more at warrington.gov.uk/budget. 

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