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Warrington to bid for £25 million from Government’s “Towns Fund”


WARRINGTON is to benefit from a £173,000 grant under the Government’s new £3.6 billion Towns Fund – with the possibility of a total grant of up to £25 million.
The funding is to help increase economic growth with a focus on regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
The fund has been launched by prime minister Boris Johnson and local government secretary Robert Jenrick.
Warrington is one of 101 towns invited to join the scheme and the borough council has already set up a town centre development board.
Colin Daniels, chief executive of Warrington Chamber of Commerce, said: “We welcome the fact that Warrington is included in this scheme and look forward to being involved.”
The Towns Fund is intended to “level up” towns which have sometimes lost out because successive governments often focused on cities as engines of economic growth.
Sturggling towns do not always have the fundamental building blocks of a strong local economy in place.
Evidence shows they can face significant challenges such as ageing populations, fewer people going on to higher education, fewer economic opportunities, less direct foreign investment and poor transport and digital connectivity.
The Towns Fund aims to give such towns the tools to design and eliver a growth strategy for their area.
Warrington will be expected to set up a Town Deal board by the end of January and produce a town investment plan by the summer.
Bodies to be included on the board will include the borough council, to lead the initiative, town and parish councils, the local MPs, local businesses and investors, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) , the Warrington Business Improvement (BID), Jobcentre Plus, Further Education Colleges, Academies and schools, hospitals, housing developers and associations, sports teams, cultural and creative institutions, etc.
Town Deal Boards will be expected to appoint a chairman and, where appropriate, the Government will expect this person to be from the private sector.
The amount of investment from the Towns Fund will be determined based on the strength of the town’s investment plan, among other relevant factors – and could be as much as £25 million.


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