by Stephen Fitzsimons
It’s a great honour to take over this monthly column from Warrington & Co’s MD, Steve Park, however also to appear in a publication that now has two decades of success under its belt.
When Warrington Worldwide was first launched in 1999 I’m sure Gary Skentelbery was worrying about the Millennium Bug and whether his Windows 98 software would last the year!
The Halliwell Jones stadium was a twinkle in the rugby club’s eye; we couldn’t shop under cover in the Golden Square extension, however could still dance the night away at Mr Smiths.
Successful economic development is anticipating when it’s appropriate to preserve our heritage and when we need to embrace the future.
The Warrington economy has evolved significantly in the last 20 years and although there is some sadness in reminiscing about the likes of Greenings, Monks and Richmond’s there is new pride in hosting world class brands such as Sellafield, New Balance and EMR.
It is much easier to encourage existing companies to invest in their operations and expand their workforce than it is to attract new entrants into the town.
This is why Warrington & Co meet regularly with our most significant employers to explore how best to support them in the future.
Readers of a certain age will recall when Warrington was part of Lancashire, with remaining clues including the South Lancs Regiment statue in Queen’s Gardens.
Today the town is in the Cheshire family and we work very closely with our friends in Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
There are some exciting initiatives across the county with energy a key theme. Hydrogen offers a significant opportunity to decarbonise fuel use along the Ship Canal, complementing the Council’s investment in solar farms.
We’ll also be exploring how best to strengthen our tourism offer. Of course, Chester has an internationally recognised appeal, however those of you at Walton Gardens for Jools Holland will know that we do have a very attractive calendar of events throughout the year. We just need a little more sunshine occasionally …