MAYOR Faisal Rashid’s first ever business seminar was a sell-out success with ninety of Warrington’s business leaders turning out to learn about the town’s future regeneration and to share ideas.
Cllr Rashid invited business leaders to hear direct from Andy Farrell, executive director economic regeneration, growth and environment, and Steve Park, chief executive of Warrington & Co, about the future development plans for the borough for the next 20 years.
Mr Farrell described Warrington as the engine of the Northern Powerhouse, with employment rates among the highest in the country, with the highest number of business start ups outside of London.
He said Warrington was the 2nd best investment location in the North West with “lots happening and lots still to happen.”
At Omega 5,000 jobs had been created along with 2,000 new homes at Chapelford in recent years.
Eight years ago the centre for Cities report ranked Warrington at number 50 – and it was now ranked 5th he added.
Warrington & Co MD Steve Park said Warrington was building on the legacy of the New Town.
One of the biggest problems in recent times had been the town centre which was “looking tired.” But now there was a vision and a plan and work was under way.
This would include making it a visitor destination.
There was currently £107m worth of investment taking place in the town centre at Time Square, including a 13 screen imax cinema.
Although the completion of new restaurant developments were still three years away, nine national chains had already expressed an interest in signing up now.
Commenting on the event Cllr Rashid added: “It was a great turn-out and just demonstrates the business community’s commitment to working together for Warrington’s future. It gave those who attended a chance to share ideas and to link in to future exciting opportunities.
“We very much want the council and business to be having two-way conversations about development plans so that the business community feels fully-engaged with the council’s visions for the future.”
The Mayor also used the opportunity to let attendees know about his initiative the ‘Circle – The Future’ – a three pronged strategy which focuses on business, culture and sport and charity, aiming on bringing together different sectors of the community to create new opportunities and enhance existing ones.