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Summer 2008 Issue 34

HaltonToday Campus earmarked for £65 million government investment As you’ll all be only too aware these are difficult times for, not only the local economy, but also the national and global economy. It is, therefore, heartening to be able to fill the pages of the current edition of Halton Today with oldfashioned good news. The announcement of £65 million worth of investment in science and technology at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus is wonderful news given the uncertainty which has been generated in the media concerning the future of the site in recent months. When taken together with the imminent start on site of Vanguard House, a brand new state of the art facility for innovative companies, the future of the Daresbury Campus is certainly bright. Two cutting edge science centres have been given the go-ahead at Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus following a recent announcement by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). £65 million from the Government’s Large Facilities Capital Fund will be invested in a world leading centre for cutting edge research in computer modelling and a research facility to develop detector systems. The centres will be administered by the research council which operates the Daresbury Laboratory, the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The computer modelling facility, to be known as the Hartree Centre, will explore issues ranging from climate change to how cells interact in the body. With a central focus on complex modelling it will provide a new world-leading computational sciences resource for the UK.The Detector Systems Centre, by supporting the research, design and fabrication of sensors, will address issues such as security systems and biomedical imaging, and will promote collaboration between the STFC and universities, bringing academic and industrial collaborators together.

Similarly, the people of the Halton have waited for a very long time for the arrival of big high street names such as M&S, Next and Dorothy Perkins.The commencement of the Stadium Development at the former Windmill Centre site in Widnes has finally brought to an end that long wait and will go a long way towards stemming the retail leakage that Halton has suffered as residents are forced to leave the borough to satisfy their shopping needs elsewhere.

Cllr Rob Polhill Executive Board Member Halton Borough Council

Major high street names head for Halton Top high street stores including Marks and Spencer and Next are to open in Halton as part of an exciting new shopping complex providing around 500 jobs. Stadium Developments have announced just a few of the big names coming to Widnes town centre as part of the new Widnes Shopping Park on the former Windmill Centre site. Marks and Spencer will be the flagship store, while Next, New Look, Peacocks, Boots, Birthdays and The Outfit, stocking a range of the Arcadia brands including Dorothy Perkins, Principles,Wallis, Miss Selfridge, will open new branches when the development opens in early 2010. When completed the shopping park will extend to

205,000 sq ft with over 600 car parking spaces on two levels. Council Leader, Cllr Tony McDermott, said that the securing of such big names is fantastic for the borough. “This is marvellous news and something we have wanted for many years. Marks and Spencer and the other famous name stores will be hugely popular with local people and visitors alike, and will really make it a shopping centre for the borough to be proud of.” A spokesman for Stadium Developments said: “Halton Borough Council has taken a pro-active approach and worked in partnership with Stadium Developments to ensure that Widnes Shopping Park plays an integral role in improving the borough as a shopping destination.”


Science Minister praises The Heath as business model for UK Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson recently applauded The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn as a model for similar science ventures across the UK.

Runcorn Business Park unveils major expansion plans An exciting multi-million-pound expansion plan, set to generate 1,000 new jobs, has been unveiled at Runcorn’s Heath Business and Technical Park.

During a visit to the award-winning business park, the Minister praised The Heath’s success in creating a cluster of scientific excellence and said that the location’s achievements deserved to be brought to the attention of a wider audience.

Ian Pearson and SOG Directors

He said: “As a government we are committed to world-class science and innovation and examples like this are exactly the sort of thing we need to be encouraging right up and down the UK.” Mr Pearson’s tour of The Heath marked the latest of many high-profile visits to the business park, which has previously welcomed guests that include Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Lord Heseltine, as well as former Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury. During the visit, the Minister met managers and staff of SOG Ltd, which owns and operates The Heath, then viewed facilities on the 60-acre park and chatted to representatives of some of the 185 organisations on site. Mr Pearson said: “I have been extremely impressed by the diversity of businesses here at The Heath but also The Heath is a concept of how you can cluster together scientific excellence and you are getting businesses interacting with each other. “It’s really a story that needs a wider audience and a good example of how you’ve got a really successful scientific-based business park that could be a model for others up and down the country.” Speaking during the Minister’s visit, SOG Ltd Managing Director Dr Peter Cook said: “SOG’s success has transformed an ailing, single-occupancy site into a thriving home for 185 resident companies employing 2,000 people. It has been built around safeguarding the future of skilled personnel and adapting them commercially so their skills can be marketed on a national and international basis.The Heath’s transformation makes it a unique model that can be replicated across the UK.”

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SOG Ltd, owner and operator of The Heath, plans to add 180,000 square feet of new offices and laboratories to the existing site and increase the workforce from 2,000 to around 3,000 in the next five years.This represents a 40% expansion of the park. A detailed planning application has been submitted and the first new building could be ready for occupation as soon as April next year. Hundreds of extra jobs will also be created during the construction period. Steven Norris, former Government Minister and specialist property writer, gave a ringing endorsement of The Heath in his keynote speech at the launch event. He praised the SOG team who have created one of the UK’s most successful independent business parks out of the ashes of the old Runcorn ICI headquarters site without a penny of government funding. “This is an exceptional place and an incredible achievement,” Mr Norris said. “When ICI pulled out in 2000, it was portrayed in the press as the death of Runcorn. They were desperate times. But what SOG have achieved here is a fantastic story. They have

great facilities but it is far more than that. They have a real understanding of what the tenants want and they offer the kind of scientific support facilities that you can’t find anywhere else in the North West.” Under the new proposals, eight separate plots will be made available, offering companies wishing to move onto The Heath a unique opportunity to create bespoke accommodation. The modular design means the new accommodation can be ready for occupation within just six months of an order being placed. Customers can even watch their tailor made facilities being constructed from a temporary office or laboratory at The Heath something no other North West business park can offer. Architects and SOG directors are also keen to minimise the new development’s impact on the environment. In response to energy and climate concerns, the buildings are designed to keep energy use down and secure a high “green score” by using locally sourced and recycled materials where possible. (Buildings are being designed to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of “very good”.)


HaltonToday

AV Control Systems joins the EBL set Halton-based AV Control Systems Ltd is amongst the first companies to sign up for workshop and office space at the purpose-built Enterprise Business and Logistics (EBL) Centre in Picow Farm Road, Runcorn. Currently based at Manor Park, AV is known internationally for its expertise in the design, manufacture and installation of high-tech control system solutions for industry.The company has recently completed projects for such well-known organisations as Allied Bakeries and Warburtons, but AV’s specialist activities also lead to overseas contracts. Currently a major project is being carried out in Australia which follows quickly on the heels of similar contracts in South Korea, Switzerland and Poland. The EBL Centre has been specifically designed to provide much-needed workshop accommodation for the area’s small but prospering businesses. When complete the innovative new business park will offer 19 individual, self-contained units for sale and to let, ranging in size from 850 to 1,850 square feet. Many, including the 1,027 square feet unit taken by AV Control Systems, have scope for a mezzanine floor to increase storage and work space. Eddie Basnett, Chief Executive of the EBL Group of Companies, says: “We are delighted to welcome AV Control Systems to The EBL Centre in Picow Farm Road. The centre has been designed for companies exactly like AV – small specialist businesses with a desire to grow and prosper.

Halton Borough Council have donated the disused railway track known locally as ‘the former Blue Circle sidings’, stretching from Earle Road to Tan House Lane in Widnes, to Llangollen Railway Trust.The donation of approximately one kilometre of sidings (flat bottomed rail) and 4 points, along with associated sleepers, will aid the Trust’s restoration of the former Llangollen Railway line between Ruabon and Corwen in North Wales. Neil Evans, a volunteer at Llangollen, said “The Trust’s restoration project will cost approximately £2.5m and will be heavily reliant on grant aid from the our partners. If all goes well we hope to start on site some time in 2009 and the donated Widnes track will play a great part in the works”.

Eddie Basnett, Chief Executive of the EBL Group, welcomes AV Control Systems directors Vincent Daly (centre) and Andy Evans (right) to the Enterprise Business & Logistics Centre in Runcorn.

“And judging by the number of enquiries and firm commitments we have already received for units at the centre, the concept is already proving very popular - more than 50 per cent of the space is already reserved. Because units are available to buy as well as to rent, the centre allows businesses to get a foot on the rung of the commercial property ladder – a great investment for their future.”

Morley sells in Daresbury Acting on behalf of a private syndicate, the Manchester office of Matthews & Goodman has acquired Building 3200 at Daresbury Park, Runcorn, from Morley Fund Management for an undisclosed sum. The three-storey block extends to 40,687 sq

Council helps railway trust stay on track

ft and is let to internet security firm Vistorm. The property was placed on the market with an asking price of £7.625m. The purchase follows Morley’s sale of the adjoining property, Building 3300, earlier this year.

The donated track once formed part of a well developed network laid during the late nineteenth century to serve industry in southern Widnes. As industry declined the track became infrequently used and became redundant with the closure of the Blue Circle Tan House Lane plant in 1982.The land has recently transferred to Halton Borough Council’s ownership as part of the Widnes Waterfront regeneration programme allowing the donation to take place and the Council to start transforming the area into a linear park. The park forms part of an ongoing programme of works dramatically changing the public realm of the Widnes Waterfront.The design includes a three metre wide pedestrian and cycle route and a range of planting to encourage the park to become a haven for butterflies. Recycling of old sleepers and a section of the original track as part of the park’s design will act as a remainder to visitors of the area’s history. This donation was made possible through the agreement of Halton Borough Council and the linear park funders – NWDA, ERDF and the Halton Strategic Partnership.

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Stobart Invest in Mersey Multimodal Gateway The Mersey Multimodal Gateway (3MG) is an innovative rail and road logistics hub based in Widnes. The site offers customers an excellent base to locate a number of distribution centres to achieve efficient and cost-effective solutions for the storage and transportation of goods, using a combination of road, rail and sea freight modes. 3MG originally comprised of 750,000 sq. ft. of warehousing and is currently undergoing the first phases of a multi-million pound expansion which will provide 3.5 million sq. ft. of new warehousing, subject to planning permission, and in turn should create in the region of 5,000 new jobs. Although the site will continue to be developed in the coming years, it already benefits from daily rail services and has high quality warehouse capacity available. In February 2008, O’Connor, a division of the Stobart Group, completed works to expand the 3MG rail freight terminal. This six-month project increased the storage capability of the 3MG freight terminal by over 1,000 containers, providing an overall capacity of up to 6,000 containers. The rail freight aspect of the site utilises the most recent crane technology and bespoke computerised systems, designed to enhance the efficiency of the terminal in terms of speed of rail side lifting operations, vehicle throughput and reliability of information. The system is automatically updated after each individual container move, in real time, and systems are integrated with customers’ own applications via specialist software to provide up to the minute container tracking. The site operates a vehicle turnaround target of just 15 minutes - compared with an industry standard of between one and two hours – giving an indication of the beneficial effect that the technological innovations can have on day to day operations. Blakedown Landscape Operations started its eight-month programme to improve 3MG and its surroundings in May 2008. As well as structural 4 Halton Today

landscaping work, improvements will be made to the fishing pond and its surroundings. The community of adjoining Halebank will also benefit, with the next phase of work scheduled for the redevelopment of the village Recreation Park.

Halton Borough Council, working in conjunction with skills partners, is developing a training initiative to ensure that they address the current skills shortage in the area and have the workforce in place ready to take up new jobs.

This public park is a popular facility in the area and there are plans to provide a new skateboard park and make improvements to its play area and football pitch. New footpath and cycleway links will also be created.

The O’Connor Group has provided container transport services in the Halton area for almost 40 years and now represents the specialist container handling and port operations arm of the Stobart Group. The Company operates the major intermodal container terminal and storage facility and also the Port of Weston on the Manchester Ship Canal, now re-branded as the Mersey Gateway Port. Recently, the Stobart Group has made major acquisitions in the area giving them a substantial interest in 3MG.

In addition to this infrastructure work, a planning application for the development of a link road to the A5300 was submitted to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Halton Borough Council in January - a decision is expected later in Summer 2008. 3MG is being delivered by a partnership comprising of Halton Borough Council and O’Connor - a division of the Stobart Group. The development is endorsed and supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Government Office for the North West and once completed, will strengthen the North West logistics sector.

The Port of Weston is just a few miles from the 3MG Terminal and is in easy reach of the key North West conurbations as well as being in close proximity to the major M6-M62-M56 motorway hub, the West Coast Mainline and the Manchester Ship Canal. Steve O’Connor has been appointed Ports Director for the Stobart Group and is responsible for the 3MG site in Widnes and the Mersey Gateway Port in Runcorn.


HaltonToday

You’re hired! Apprentice fever hits O2 Apprentice fever is sweeping the nation right now, as the annual cut throat boardroom race to work for Alan Sugar reaches its climax. But down at the Preston Brook Customer Contact Centre of communications company 02, the Apprentice bug has bitten particularly deep. The company is reaping the benefits of a pioneering apprenticeship scheme that has further enhanced its reputation as one of the best places in Britain to work, and is now recruiting a new intake of candidates. The apprentices fall into two categories, the O2 Advanced Apprenticeship programme in Technology, and the Customer Service Apprenticeship programme. The advanced apprenticeship recruits are attached to individual teams within the business, allowing them to learn from more experienced colleagues as they undertake a two year programme of classroom based professional training, including an NVQ and Technical Certificate at level 3 and Key Skills development. As 02 is part of the Spanish-based communications giant Telefonica, the apprentices are also given some basic Spanish language training on the course. 02’s Preston Brook Customer Service Select Centre welcomed its first batch of new recruits on the Customer Services programme in 2006, and the results have been so positive that they are now recruiting a third intake of recruits to start on the apprenticeship scheme in October.

On this course, the apprentices gain Contact Centre NVQ level 2 and on the job training. After a year they are offered permanent jobs if they have performed well enough and also have the opportunity to continue studying for an NVQ level 3.

Major plc favours Sutton Quays Business Park Mansell Construction Services Limited, one of the UK’s leading construction companies, has commissioned Halton developers EBL to build their new 10,000 square feet regional offices at Sutton Quays Business Park, Sutton Weaver near Runcorn.

Andrew Hayes became an O2 Advanced Apprentice in the Billing Operations team at Preston Brook, after hearing about the scheme through his mother, who also works for the company. “The apprenticeship immediately grabbed my attention, as the chance to learn and earn in a company such as O2 was very appealing. I was also attracted by the amount of high level training that was on offer,” he said. Andrew has learnt a number of roles in the team, and added: “I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is keen and willing to learn. From my personal experience I have found the apprenticeship to be challenging but fun at the same time. “It has also been a great way of meeting people and developing my key skills, which has also helped me outside of the office.” A spokesperson for 02, said: “We are investing in the future of our apprentices and our business. It has been shown that apprentices are very loyal, perform better and tend to have a long career with their company.”

Peter Johnson, Regional Managing Director of Mansell (centre) is welcomed to Sutton Quays Business Park by EBL directors Eddie Basnett (left) and Bob Wilson. The new Mansell offices will be the first to be built on phase two of the business park.

Founded a century ago in 1908 and acquired by Balfour Beatty in 2003, Mansell operates within a number of specialist construction sectors, including affordable housing, education, health, defence and airports. With annual turnover in excess of £850 million, the company employs more than 2,500 people working at 22 regional offices throughout the UK. Relocation to their new two-storey offices at Sutton Quays Business Park will not cause too much of a logistical problem for the Mansell team, currently they occupy premises less than one mile away in Frodsham in the neighbouring borough of Vale Royal. Eddie Basnett, Chief Executive of the EBL Group, is delighted to welcome such a substantial and well-respected organisation to phase two of Sutton Quays Business Park. “Mansell will be occupying the first of several prestige office buildings on phase two of Sutton Quays,” he says. “To be working alongside one of Britain’s foremost construction companies is obviously very satisfying and a great testimony to the quality of our own building standards.

Weaver Vale MP Mike Hall meets Customer Service and Advanced Apprentices

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A BID for Success Astmoor Industrial Estate in Runcorn and Halebank Industrial Estate in Widnes are hitting back at criminals by utilising a combination of new security services and infrastructure improvements to protect businesses. Over recent weeks Astmoor has seen the installation of an auto number plate recognition (ANPR) CCTV system at all vehicle entrances to the estate.The system will help to reduce crimes that involve the use of vehicles such as the bulk theft of goods.The system identifies all vehicles entering and leaving the estate by recording a visual image of the vehicles including licence plate details. At Halebank additional CCTV cameras have been installed at the entrances to Mersey View Road, Foundry Lane and Pickerings Road together with the new Ditton Court development on Foundry Lane.The new cameras are in addition to the ten high-speed dome cameras previously installed.

Widnes Waterfront commercial property offer continues to thrive The commercial property offer at Widnes Waterfront is continuing to thrive with a range of newly built properties currently available. The 200-acre site on the banks of the River Mersey at Widnes, has been transformed in recent years thanks to funding from the European Union’s Objective 2 programme and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). This funding coupled with Halton Council’s vision of creating a business location fit for the requirements of 21st century businesses, has led to a raft of developers creating new commercial space in the town for the first time in many years. Key developments at The Waterfront include: Heron Business Park. Developed by St Modwen Properties, Heron Business Park is a development of 104,000 sq ft of hybrid light industrial and office units. The first phase is almost fully let which has led to the company beginning construction work on the 73,700 sq ft second phase.

In addition to the new CCTV infrastructure companies on Astmoor and Halebank are benefiting from a key holding and alarm response service providing a rapid response to alarm activations.The new security services are provided by a professional security company, Druants Support Services, and funded by the Astmoor and Halebank Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Regeneration, Cllr Rob Polhill, said: “The provision of these security services is great news for businesses located on Astmoor and Halebank as the companies will benefit from a rapid response service by a professional security firm, which will function as a highly visible deterrent against criminal activity.” With the security services activated the BIDs are starting to implement schemes to enhance the maintenance and image of the estates to further improve the areas.The first stage included the installation of new gateway signage to clearly identify the estates with further improvements due to come on stream on later in the year.

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Turnstone Business Park. Priority Sites’Turnstone Business Park is a Grade A office development spread over four separate buildings.The brownfield regeneration specialist completed construction in May 2008 and the development has secured its first letting with a 3,000 sq ft office suite let to OMG Plumbing and Heating Limited. Widnes Trade Park. Manchester based Property Alliance has developed seven trade-counter / light industrial units adjacent to its development of a new B&Q superstore. With just three units remaining between 3,500 sq ft and 14,000 sq ft, the development

already boasts three tenants including Screwfix, Edmundsons Electrical and Dulux Decorator Centre. Forward Point. Currently under construction, Forward Point is being developed by Widnes company Forward Partnership. Grade A office units of between 2,200 sq ft and 16,500 sq ft are available immediately for sale or to let either as individual floors or entire buildings.The development will be ready for occupation in October 2008. Easter Park. The first phase of Easter Group’s general industrial, warehouse / distribution development was completed in May 2008 with units of between 15,000 and 40,000 sq ft available for sale or let. One unit is already sold and another let to Edwards Engineering. The second phase of the high-spec development will see the remaining seven acres of the site used for a combination of office and industrial facilities. There remain a range of development opportunities yet to be exploited at the Waterfront and with more developments still in the pipeline, the Widnes Waterfront project will continue to be the main focus of commercial property development in Halton for the coming years. Attracting new companies to the borough and providing quality accommodation for existing businesses are the main goals of the Waterfront project. The excellent communications links that Halton boasts and the quality of the new developments are proving to be key determining factors in The Waterfront’s ongoing success.


HaltonToday

Planning Permission granted for major new facility for hi-tech firms on Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus

New experts join Chemicals Northwest Chemicals Northwest has been given a major boost with the appointment of a new chairman and three new experienced board members to help promote the North West’s chemical industry. Located at The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, Chemicals Northwest is a public-sector organisation designed to support and promote the activities of the chemical industry in the NW region and beyond.

Dr Tony Bastock OBE, chemical industry expert and chairman of Widnes’s Catalyst Museum Trust, takes over from Carol Boyer-Spooner as chair of the Chemicals Northwest Board.

Halton Borough Council has granted planning permission for a major new facility for hi-tech businesses and leading-edge science on the Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus, the first step in the crucial next stage of the development of the Campus. Construction of the new building, to be called Vanguard House, is expected to begin in September 2008, with the building ready for occupation in September 2009. Vanguard House will provide 35,000 sq. ft. of office and laboratory space in units of between 1,000 sq ft (93 sq m) and 7,700 sq ft (715 sq m). It will complement the hugely successful Daresbury Innovation Centre and provide a home for companies already on the Campus to grow into as well as attracting established scientific and hi-tech companies from across the country. The agreement to build Vanguard House was announced at the beginning of April by the Minister for Science & Innovation, Ian Pearson, as part of a £25 million deal between The Northwest Regional Development Agency, Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus and St Modwen, widely regarded as the UK’s leading regeneration specialist. Directly managed by St Modwen, it will offer reception, meeting and

conference facilities for all companies on the Campus and a hi-tech IT service to its occupiers. The new development adjoins the existing Daresbury Innovation Centre and the Cockcroft Institute (the National Centre for Accelerator Science), with the larger investment creating the potential for up to 200,000 sq ft (18.500 sq m) of new accommodation and up to 1,200 jobs. St Modwen plan a rolling programme of development of high quality buildings provided speculatively or to meet occupiers’ bespoke requirements. John Leake, General Manager of Daresbury SIC comments: ‘The first step in the ambitious masterplan for the Campus is Vanguard House and receiving planning permission is a very exciting development. This will be a fantastic facility for hi-tech businesses, but the attraction is not just about the bricks and mortar, companies will be able to draw on the unique combination of business support and world class scientific expertise that has become the Daresbury SIC trademark’. Mr Leake has also announced that the Daresbury site is to become one of six regional Media Enterprise Centres, alongside the likes of Media City and Liverpool, which will see it benefiting from the very latest broadband connectivity for businesses in the digital and creative sector.

Passionate about science education, Dr Bastock is currently group managing director of Contract Chemicals Ltd, chairman of the UK National Authority Advisory Committee on Chemical Weapons and a council member and former president of the Chemical Industries Association. Mr Mike Armitage, a management consultant and former chief executive of European Colour Plc, has been appointed deputy chair. And they are joined by Mr Jorge Oliveira, managing director of two UK chemical manufacturing companies, and Dr Jenny Clucas who became the organisation’s chief executive in December. They succeed the current chair Carol BoyerSpooner, who resigned to concentrate on her role as chief executive of Chemical Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network, and board member Ern Edmonds of Solvay, who is now working abroad. Dr Clucas said: “On behalf of Chemicals Northwest, I would like to congratulate Tony and Mike on their appointment and welcome Jorge to the Board. I am delighted that people of such calibre are joining us, as they each bring different talents and experience, but are all passionate about supporting the chemical industry in the NW. I am looking forward to working with them to further expand the role of Chemicals Northwest in the region.”

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Expansion and Growth Mersey Gateway Project gets green light from special council committee Councillors unanimously gave the green light to the detailed plans for the Mersey Gateway Project in July. Halton Borough Council’s Development Control Committee referred three applications that will allow the project to proceed to the Secretary of State without objection. It also endorsed the content of the Transport and Works Act (TWA) application submitted to the Department for Transport in the same way. In a special hearing dedicated to the Mersey Gateway Project, the committee considered two planning applications outlining major alterations to the road network in Runcorn and Widnes and an application for listed building consent to change the traffic flow and road layout on the Silver Jubilee Bridge once the Mersey Gateway bridge has been built. Cllr Tony McDermott, Leader of Halton Borough Council and Chair of the Mersey Gateway Executive Board, said: “This is a major milestone for the project and keeps us on track to deliver a new crossing that will be a catalyst for delivering major changes and improvements for the future of Halton and the surrounding region. We will continue to work closely with local people and all our partners to ensure we deliver a project that brings the maximum possible benefits to the region.” Claire Hall, Mersey Gateway Project Manager, said: “This project fits with local, regional and national planning criteria. We are confident that the detailed proposals that were before the council’s Development Control Committee will result in a stunning new bridge and a programme of improvement and regeneration for the borough that will bring benefits for local people, businesses and commuters for years to come.”

Caption? to a new bridge that will become an icon In addition for the region, the impact of the proposals includes:

more reliable and safer traffic journeys over the River Mersey;

a flexible tolling strategy designed to secure the best deal for residents, commuters and businesses;

demolition and removal of unnecessary road infrastructure and clearance and regeneration of large areas of land in Widnes and Runcorn to create new opportunities for leisure, housing and office premises;

a revitalised Silver Jubilee Bridge with traffic levels reduced by 83% featuring a new ‘green corridor’ with improved public transport, cycling and walking facilities;

an overall reduction in CO2 traffic emissions caused by re-routing traffic and reducing congestion;

extra capacity for the region’s fragile road network at a crucial bottleneck where it crosses the River Mersey;

designated areas identified where compulsory purchase powers can be used to buy land required for the project to proceed.

Further key decisions affecting the future of the project will come from the Department for Transport, which is due to consider the TWA application and a series of associated legal orders in the next few months. Due to the size and importance of the project, it is almost inevitable that there will be a public inquiry. If everything is approved, the new bridge is expected to be open in 2014. Full details of the applications can be found on the Mersey Gateway website – www.merseygateway.co.uk and there will be further information at each of the Halton Direct Links throughout the borough.

For information and advice please contact: The Economic Regeneration Service - Halton Borough Council Tel: 01928 516124 Email: property@halton.gov.uk www.runcorn-widnes.com

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Halton Today 34  

Summer 2008