A 20-year vision to make Warrington town centre a vibrant, dynamic destination – and a great place to live work, visit and do business – has been given the go-ahead.
The Council’s Cabinet has approved the Warrington Town Centre Masterplan, which aims to guide the regeneration of the heart of the town, and help foster physical development and economic growth.
The masterplan pulls together current achievements, short-term ‘quick wins’ and longer term transformational investments. It builds upon what’s special about Warrington town centre – particularly its cultural assets and architecture, its locational advantages and its waterfronts and green spaces.
A number of key areas form the focus of the masterplan, including:
• Circular Parklands – to enhance the ‘green ring’ around the town centre – one of Warrington’s most unique and distinctive assets – through a programme of specific improvement projects, street enhancements and the delivery of major town centre regeneration schemes.
• Rediscovering the River – progressing ‘strong’ and ‘special’ development areas orientated towards the river, ensuring attractive waterfront promenades and walking and cycling routes, enhancing and creating parks and open spaces and improving bridge crossings.
• Changing our main shopping streets – through cafes and restaurants with active frontages and outdoor eating, transforming former shops into new space for small businesses, converting vacant and underused commercial space into new homes and promoting pop-up spaces for temporary, colourful activities.
• A Place of Culture – reinforcing the town centre’s sense of place through new public spaces (Time Square and Riverfront Plaza), enhancing and pedestrianising routes, animating streets and spaces through alfresco dining, public art, street markets, events and festivals and further improving the offer of The Pyramid and Warrington Museum and Library.
• Town Centre Living – working with partners, including the council’s own Local Housing Company, to deliver over 8,000 new homes in the heart of the town, and ensuring as many as possible are affordable for local people.
• A Focus for Business – making Warrington town centre a focus for new businesses and hotel development, focusing on four key locations – Stadium quarter (phase 1), Bank Quay Rail Hub, Southern Gateway, Riverfront and Port Warrington.
• Keeping the town centre moving and connected – further enhancing Warrington’s transport network and connectivity, tackling congestion and promoting active travel as laid out in Warrington’s Fourth Local Transport Plan (LTP4), and delivering a National Rail Hub at Bank Quay train station, grasping the opportunities of HS2/West coast Main Line and Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Accompanying the masterplan document will be a fully digitised and interactive version, which will provide a proactive tool in supporting developers, designers and decision-makers and promoting and delivering the town centre vision.
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “This is a hugely important plan, which sets out our ambitions, up to 2040, to deliver a thriving, prosperous future for our town centre and the large-scale Warrington Waterfront development area.
“Several major town centre projects are already coming to fruition here. The Time Square development has started to trade and our Palmyra Cultural Quarter is coming alive as a colourful destination of high quality restaurants and bars. We have also recently given the go-ahead for over 700 new homes in the heart of our town.
“This masterplan aims to build on our success and support the delivery a vibrant and attractive town centre which is a great place to live and work, a cultural and leisure hub and a destination our residents and businesses can be proud of.
“At the heart of this is the firm aspiration to deliver inclusive growth so that everyone can participate in and enjoy the benefits of a distinctive, diverse, safe, vibrant and green town centre.”