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The leader’s blog - October 2014

Hello and welcome to my October blog.

I hope everyone is back into the swing of things and settled into work and school. September was a very busy month for the council and brought around some exciting developments.

I am extremely proud to say the Stadium Quarter is no longer a plan, it is becoming reality. Warrington’s Business Incubator is now under construction and I was proud to mark this occasion with a ceremony last month on the Dallam Lane site. Former government minister, Dame Tessa Jowell, joined us for this occasion and when completed, the business incubator will provide a first class facility for start-up businesses and support our growth plans. In the not too distant future work will also start on the £10m University Technical College.

Back in July the government announced the ‘Growth Deal’ for Warrington and Cheshire following the submission of the Strategic Economic Plan. This included £12.5m of funding for three major transport schemes…

-       £5m towards Omega M62 junction 8 – to deal with current and future congestion around junction 8 at Omega including an improved junction and slip roads

-       £5.3m towards Warrington Waterfront – to fund transport improvements to help bring forward development at Centre Park in the town centre

-       £2.14m towards Birchwood Pinchpoint Project - to improve three junctions on the A574 in Birchwood which are currently subject to congestion and delays

We have also secured funding for the new train station in West Warrington, on the rail between Manchester and Liverpool. Through the Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body, we have £6.53m to help fund the £12m scheme to build a new station and car park at a dedicated site on Chapelford Urban Village.

And to top all this regeneration news, a planning application for the £52m Bridge Street scheme was submitted in September and if approved, work will start on site in January. The renaissance of our town centre is underway.

You may have seen in the local news recently that the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has announced that it intends to carry out a formal review of electoral arrangements in Warrington. The commission will look at council size and number and distribution of the electorate and then number and boundaries of wards. This will start in January 2015 and will be completed in November. I will keep you updated as we find out more over the coming months.

I attended the Pride event in the town centre last weekend which was a great event and well done to all those who were involved in organising it. I look forward to many more events over the next few months leading up to Christmas – visit the website for more.

And lastly, I am pleased to announce the council’s planning service has been awarded a certificate by the Royal Town Planning Institute. The service has helped to protect valuable spaces in the town but also enabled growth and regeneration in all the right places. I think that's it's important that we continue to focus on protecting and enhancing our wonderful Borough and it's pleasing to know that we now have a really good planning service to deliver those objectives. This, together with our Local Core Plan Strategy, which has been classed as being sound and has been adopted, means we have a planning framework in Warrington that will deliver our ambitious plans for our town.

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