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Welcome to February's blog...

January has been a busy month for both the council and the town, 2013 has gotten off to a flying start and I have a good feeling this momentum will continue throughout the year.

The Warrington Skills Commission officially launched its findings and recommendations report on Thursday 24 January; this was the culmination of a detailed investigation into the key areas of future economic growth and change. The result was an action plan to secure the borough’s prosperity through closer working relationships with employers, skills and education providers.  I would like to thank everyone who was involved in helping shape this ground breaking piece of work, now we need to ensure we turn these recommendations into a reality, I’ll keep you posted on progress and developments right here.

Last week the government announced the second phase of their high speed rail plans nearby Manchester will have two HS2 stops which is positive for the region however the reaction has been mixed elsewhere, particularly in Cheshire and Merseyside. The plans as they stand do not list Bank Quay as a HS2 station but our journey times to the south will still be significantly reduced.   We will be lobbying to upgrade the West Coast Mainline between Wigan and Crewe, including an upgraded modern station at Bank Quay. The council will be studying these plans closely over the coming weeks and months to establish the true impact on our communities. We will also be engaging with parish councils, residents and businesses to pull together an official response for the Department for Transport. Look out for more information on this soon.

At the last meeting of the council’s executive board we appointed Langtree as our partner for the Southern Gateway regeneration scheme. This will change the face of Bridgefoot and the approaches from Wilderspool Causeway, Chester Road and Knutsford Road. New homes, offices, retail outlets and riverside promenades are all part of this transformation agenda.

At that same meeting we also formally agreed the contract for the total regeneration of Bridge Street and Time Square with development partner Muse. Plans on the table include a cinema, relocation of market hall, shops, a hotel, offices and restaurants which we are confident will give our town centre a new heart and focus once complete.

These schemes along with recent Omega announcements and our developing plans for the ‘Stadium Quarter,’ will inject much needed investment into the area and deliver a wide range of facilities and employment opportunities for residents.

In March, an exciting display at the Halliwell Jones Stadium called ‘Wire2Wolves’ will be unveiled, bringing together the heritage of the town and the history of the Warrington Wolves rugby club. From past players to businesses and families, it will include something for everyone so make sure you keep an eye out for more information over the next few weeks.

Lastly, Warrington has done better than ever in the Centre for Cities report for 2013. The town has been placed in the top five for business investment and the top ten for business and enterprise out of the UK’s 64 main cities. More key figures include:

  • employment rate - 7th highest
  • private sector jobs growth – 7th highest
  • ration of private sector to public sector employment – 7th highest

I think you’ll agree it’s becoming clearer to businesses and investors alike that Warrington Means Business and success. 

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