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The Leader's Blog - October 2015

Hello and welcome to my October blog. I am pleased to begin this month’s blog with a fantastic success story...

I’m sure many of you are aware that the first ever Warrington Festival took place last month which hosted more than 25 events and brought more than 20,000 people into the town.

The three week festival included events such as; Pixie Lott playing a headline slot at Bank Park, the English Half Marathon, the Medieval Market, and the LiveWire Mile finishing through the Golden Gates for the first time.

In a great example of partnership working, the council teamed up with LiveWire, Culture Warrington, Warrington Wolves and other partners to deliver the fantastic programme of events for residents to get active, have fun and try something new.

A huge thank you to all involved in the festival and it was great to see so many residents coming together.

The festival celebrated sport, entertainment and culture which brings me on to how disappointed I was to hear that Warrington was rated so poorly for culture by the Royal Society of Arts’ (RSA) heritage survey.

I’m saddened to see the hysteria following the survey as Warrington has a deep and rich heritage which we celebrate throughout the year.

The RSA only did a desktop survey which didn’t give a true representation of the significant cultural facilities in the town and together with Culture Warrington we did respond with many positive comments to set the record straight.

Last month, I was invited to meet with all northern local authority leaders and the chairs of the LEP’s (Local Enterprise Partnership) to discuss the Northern Power House.

We came together to look at how to shape a northern economic narrative that will underpin the Northern Power House concept. Lord O’Neill, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and the Northern Powerhouse also joined the meeting and it was great to represent Warrington and continue to push for the best deal for the town.

After offering my support to the vulnerable Syrian refugees, the new executive task group met for the first time last week and members were updated on the current situation.

We are still awaiting detailed information from the Home Office and once we have this, I can update residents further. In the meantime, partners and council officers are meeting to work on operational matters so that we can respond effectively when we know what’s necessary.

A delegation from the Homes and Communities Agency visited Warrington last week, where I had chance to meet up with them, and they were very pleased with the pace of development on their land (especially Omega) and the rest of Warrington.

This year’s Regimental Sunday took place on 4 October. The Annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving marked the 77th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and 9th Anniversary of the formation of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

These are important events in the calendar and I was pleased to see so many turn out to commemorate the lives on the fallen comrades of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and all antecedent regiments.

The Government announced last week that it had unpaused the electrification of the transpennine and midland lines.  This was welcome news.  However, following on from my work on the North of England Electrification Task Force which was commissioned by Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, to consider what lines in the North of England should be electrified next with Warrington’s Cheshire Central Line coming out almost top.  I was concerned that the pause would delay these vital works and I had the opportunity of a meeting of Transport for the North this week, which the Secretary of State attended to ask him a specific question about the possible delay.  His response was not very encouraging.  However, I will continue to press for the electrification of CC line from Manchester to Liverpool through Central Station to be electrified as soon as possible.

It’s been another busy month for Warrington and I look forward to updating you once again in November.