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The vision, design and ambition behind the Time Square development – which has revitalised Warrington town centre - has been recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
Time Square has received a commendation in the ‘Successful Economy’ category of the 2023 RTPI North West Awards for Planning Excellence.
RTPIs awards are the most established and respected in the UK planning industry. Running for over 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.
In awarding a commendation, the judging panel were full of praise for Time Square, saying that since opening, it has had a transformative impact on Warrington, increasing both investment in the town centre and supporting wider economic viability.
The judges said the success of the challenging scheme has been driven by an ambitious vision, shaped by extensive and meaningful public consultation, and implemented through a combination of a clear planning policy framework, phasing strategy, strong leadership and partnership working.
Judges were impressed by the careful thought given to design, and in particular how the existing cultural heritage assets of the existing facades on Bridge Street were incorporated into the development. It was felt that this has been key in allowing the scheme to become well integrated with the southern part of the existing town centre, whilst creating its own unique identity and sense of place.
Also praised was the vision to reuse of a highly complex site to bring a renewed vibrancy to the town centre, and the introduction of several different but complementary uses, which are increasing footfall and supporting both the day and night-time economies.
The judges also noted the sustainability and green energy credentials embedded within the development and agreed that the Market is a standout asset, providing a contemporary destination for shoppers and visitors, while attracting and supporting new business start-ups.
Cllr Janet Henshaw, cabinet member for housing, planning policy and development, said: “Time Square has been a huge success story for Warrington. Delivered through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now firmly established as a premier, family-friendly destination for our town centre, with high quality restaurant, shopping and leisure venues, a cinema experience, and a modern, contemporary home for our famous market.
“This praise from RTPI for the development is well deserved. It shows real recognition from national planning leaders of the fantastic work done by the council and its partners, to deliver a truly transformative project which is bringing in new investment, injecting economic vitality and driving the regeneration of our town centre.”
Cabinet member for economic development and innovation, Cllr Tom Jennings, added: “The Time Square development has transformed the face of Warrington town centre, bringing a major boost to our economy and attracting visitors from across the borough and wider region. It’s a destination that Warrington deserves, and one that we can all be proud of.
“In delivering such an ambitious project, it was crucial we had a strong vision, high quality planning and design, excellent partnership working and meaningful community engagement. I’m delighted that all of this has been recognised by RTPI.”
The RTPI champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. It is the only body in the UK that confers Chartered status to planners, the highest professional qualification sought after by employers. It supports its members – over 26,000 worldwide - throughout their careers.
For more information on the awards, visit rtpi.org.uk