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The Leader's blog - September 2013

Hello and welcome to my September blog.

August has been a busy month and there is plenty of work ahead.

You may have seen the story of Toi Moko in the news in August. A Toi Moko or mummified head, said to be that of “a South Sea island chief’, is currently being held in Warrington Museum and we have recently announced it will be sent back to New Zealand . The head has been here since 1843 and discussions are currently being held here and in New Zealand to arrange the repatriation ceremony. We have received national and international news coverage for this important event.

I have been appointed to the Local Government Association (LGA) Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, which is a national body and I’m extremely proud to represent Warrington .

I have recently spent some time in Contact Warrington and had the chance to gain an insight into staff’s daily duties at work. It was a very enlightening experience. The staff are extremely busy supporting residents in a wide variety of ways - last week alone the centre received 5,706 calls and I would like to thank you for your continued patience during these busy times as we provide what is clearly a popular and valued service.

Earlier this week I also attended a start on site commemoration for the first investment project for the Cheshire and Warrington LEP's Growing Places fund. And I'm proud to say that that was in our town. Local developer Square One Homes were allocated £235,000 from the Growing Places Fund to deliver twelve housing units on the site Kingfisher Square on Manchester Road . The housing scheme will provide innovative, quality affordable home starting at £69,000.

Repopulating our town centre and providing inspirational and affordable homes are key elements in our framework for growth, Warrington Means Business, and we are delighted that the fund has supported this development.

I also attended the opening of a new £3 million road which serves Omega North, now home to Brakes, Hermes and soon to be home to Travis Perkins. It was a road naming ceremony and the road has been will be named Lockheed Road after the major United States aircraft manufacturer, to commemorate and recognise the aviation history of the site.

Burtonwood airfield served as a key logistics base for the British and US Military for over 50 years. It played a pivotal role during the Second World War and during the Berlin Airlift. In its new life as Omega it makes an interesting comparison to see it once again returning to its logistics roots albeit during, thankfully, more peaceful times. It is fitting that we remember and commemorate the site’s historic past by naming the new road after aircraft manufacturer Lockheed.

The council’s Local Plan Core Strategy, which will guide development in the borough over the next 15 years, also took a step closer towards adoption this week when the public consultation regarding a number of proposed changes to the plan commenced. Our Planning Policy Team has worked exceptionally hard on this.

I currently chair two sub groups which are heavily involved in the drawing up of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Plan. These are Access to Finance and European Funding. I have been heavily involved in meetings concerning these plans which will hopefully secure millions of pounds for our sub-region.

The English Half Marathon returns to Warrington on Sunday 8 September. This is now an established feature in Warrington ’s events calendar and I hope everyone running has an enjoyable day.

Finally, the Rugby League World Cup 2013 is fast approaching! In just a few months we will be welcoming the Samoan team before their group match against New Zealand at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. We are extremely proud to be part of the UK ’s golden decade of sport and hope to see you all at the games. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, they are now available from the stadium or from Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub. Plus, if you want to get involved with the tournament there’s still chance to become a volunteer.

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer and that the sun has helped to re-charge batteries.

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