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New report highlights fresh hope and opportunity for North West towns

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A new report from a North West planning and development consultancy lifts the lid on the state of the region’s town centres and funding driving regeneration and job creation.

The ‘Moving on up? Levelling up town centres across Northern England’ Insight report by Manchester firm Lichfields, comes at a time of ‘seismic’ change for local cities and towns.

The past 12 months have been challenging for local towns, the report indicates, as pandemic and lockdowns have had a huge impact on communities as working patterns have changed and social distancing measures continue to affect millions of people.

High street retailers also face significant challenges, notably the growth in online shopping, competition from out-of-town developments, the burden of disproportionate business rates, and changing consumer habits.

The report identifies how places such as Warrington are fighting back to meet the challenges and benefiting from a multimillion-pound national funding package.

The town has been confirmed as the recipient of a £22m Town Deal from the Government and has an ambitious 20-year strategy that puts city centre living at the heart of investment and growth. This could see 8,000 homes developed in its centre as part of a masterplan to open up new leisure opportunities as retail shifts online and drive visitor footfall.