Planners have given the go-ahead for the revamp of a Cheshire town centre. Work on the £52m scheme to regenerate the retail heart of Warrington will start early next year.
To be completed in two construction stages, the Bridge Street Quarter development will create at least 400 jobs and is scheduled for completion in 2018.
“This is a momentous decision for Warrington and the future of our town centre,” commented council leader, Terry O’Neill. “The town is on the cusp of a renaissance which will bring its vitality back to its former glory.”
The 8.4-acre Bridge Street scheme has been designed to complement three other town centre projects: The 50,000 sq ft business incubator currently under construction at Stadium Quarter, the regeneration of the former Garnett cabinet works site, and a new landmark southern gateway into the town centre being led by Wire Regeneration.
As part of the Bridge Street project Warrington’s historic market site — one of the oldest in the north of England dating back to 1255 — will be demolished and replaced by a modern 40,000 sq ft building. Traders will move to a temporary home in Time Square to allow the new £10m market to open by 2018.
“Like most people in Warrington, the market is very close to my heart,” added deputy council leader, Mike Hannon. “Protecting Warrington’s market now and into the future is a primary concern in the Bridge Street regeneration project and it’s important that we create a new market hall which will be the envy of other towns and cities.
There will also be a multiplex cinema, an upgraded civic centre and a new public square delivered by award winning development partner Muse. Named as National Property Company 2014, the Manchester-based developer specialises in turning around neglected town and city centres.
Work on the £8.5m Stadium Quarter business hub — part of Warrington council’s ambitious £190m Stadium Quarter project — is slated to end by early summer with the first tenants moving in next autumn. Funding for the business incubator has come from a £1.7m European Regional Development Fund grant and £6.7m of investment from Warrington council’s capital programme.
Steve Park is managing director of Warrington & Co, the town’s partnership for driving economic growth. “This is great news for Warrington and a great start for the Stadium Quarter,” he said. “The business incubator is exactly what regional start-up businesses need. It will provide office and research and development space on flexible lets within which they can flourish and expand.
“The business location, too, could not be better and Warrington and Co will work proactively with the new tenants to ensure their growth needs are met,” he added. “This is an exciting moment in the extensive regeneration of Warrington town centre.”