Image of Victoria Park athletics track and pitch.

Warrington has set out ambitious plans to deliver a number of transformational projects, aimed at improving health and wellbeing and boosting sustainable transport, across the borough.

The council has submitted three bids, totalling almost £47million, for Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, introduced by the government to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.

Bid 1 focuses on ‘Levelling Up Health and Wellbeing in Warrington South’, with plans to improve health and wellbeing through three cultural and leisure facilities:

  • A new flagship, inclusive sports centre at Victoria Park, providing regionally-important accessible facilities, designed with people with disabilities in mind. Plans include a new indoor wheelchair sports hall, a new artificial grass pitch and a new Warrington Wolves training facility – supporting  women’s, men’s, youth, physical and learning disability teams.
  • Transformational improvements to Broomfields Leisure Centre, reviving the facility and significantly enhancing the quality of the health and leisure offer. Plans include a new, high quality 20 metre swimming pool, designed to the latest accessibility standards, a new ‘changing village’ and a new fitness suite.
  • A new Performing Arts Centre in Lymm, providing much-needed performance space for Warrington’s thriving arts scene. Delivered in partnership with Lymm High School, the centre would also serve the east and south of Warrington and north Cheshire, providing performance and rehearsal space for drama, dance, and music.

All three facilities would be designed to enhance inclusivity in all forms, such as maximising access for people with disabilities, those who may not have their own transport, and groups who may be disengaged from sport or the arts.

Bid 2 focuses on ‘Reconnecting the settlements’ of Warrington North, with three new active travel routes implemented to improve traffic-free links between the rural settlements of Burtonwood, Winwick and Culcheth and urban Warrington.

The routes would encourage modal shift and active lifestyles, helping improve the health and wellbeing of local people, as well as bringing environmental benefits.

In addition, two existing recreation facilities in Burtonwood would be upgraded:

  • The derelict pavilion at Burtonwood Recreation Ground would be redeveloped into a landmark structure for accommodating multi-purpose community activities.
  • Burtonwood Community Centre would be significantly extended to provide improved facilities for sports teams using the local pitches and additional space to support community activities.

Bid 3 focuses on active transport and the council’s ‘First and Last mile’ Connectivity Plan. It covers an east to west corridor through the centre of the urban area of Warrington, with the first and last mile approaches to the retail and commercial town centre at its heart.

The project would remove barriers to movement along this strategically important spine route of the borough’s cycle network, providing high quality and fully segregated facilities to allow safer and more direct walking and cycling journeys to take place to and from the town centre.

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Our Levelling Up bids highlight the level of ambition within Warrington and our aspirations to build stronger, healthier and better connected communities. We want to create a future where people have the skills employers want, where sport and the arts are accessible for all and where people can benefit from a range of active travel options.

“This funding would give us a great opportunity to deliver a number of significant projects which would make a real difference to people’s lives. We are pleased to be working closely with both of the town’s MPs on these projects and we’re grateful for their ongoing support.”

Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, said: “Our Levelling Up Round 2 bid shows how ambitious we are in our plans to drive up the quality of people’s lives by delivering transformational projects across our communities.

“The schemes we are proposing would bring huge benefits to many people, throughout Warrington, for years to come, encouraging more people to participate in sports and the arts, improving physical health and mental wellbeing, and encouraging individual, social, and community development.

“I’m hopeful that the government will share in our ambitions and we will be successful in securing this vital funding.”

Cllr Hans Mundry, cabinet member for transportation, highways and public realm, added: “We have strong ambitions, through our Local Transport Plan, to transform the way people travel around Warrington, to reduce car dependency and to deliver high quality, well-connected active travel facilities. I’m pleased that a key focus of our Levelling Up bid is the continuation of this important work.

“If we are successful in securing this funding, it would closely follow the success we’ve had in obtaining funds from the Warrington Town Deal, Active Travel Fund and Bus Service Improvement Plan. This would be another major boost to our ambitious sustainable transport programme, enabling us to deliver a number of schemes across Warrington and which would make travelling sustainably easier and more attractive for everyone.”

Notes to editors

  • Bid 1 – ‘Levelling Up Health and Wellbeing in Warrington South’ has a total project value of £23.8million, with Warrington Borough Council bidding for £19.7million from the Levelling Up Fund
  • Bid 2 – ‘Reconnecting the settlements’ of Warrington North has a total project value of £10.4million, with Warrington Borough Council bidding for £9.4million from the Levelling Up Fund
  • Bid 3 – ‘First and Last mile’ Connectivity Plan has a total project value of £19.5million, with Warrington Borough Council bidding for £17.5million from the Levelling Up Fund
  • The government’s Levelling up Fund, which brings together the Department for Transport, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Treasury to invest £4.8billion in local infrastructure, was announced in March 2021
  • All projects need to be completed by March 2025