Warrington – A Garden city

The Love Warrington business breakfasts started 2017 with a talk by Steve Park; Managing Director of Warrington & Co at the Base office building near to Warrington Central Station. After a chance for local businesses and those helping to promote the town to network the talk began. Steve outlined the current developments in Warrington including Time Square and the stadium quarter, and looking ahead to the town becoming a garden city, given the unique pattern of green spaces. I see the parks around the town centre, and the Sankey Valley along the canal as places you can almost forget you live in large town between two major cities.

Sankey Valley Park

The talk began mentioning the developments that have been completed or underway including the launch of the Base, the University Technical College next door, the logistics and manufacturing hub of Omega by the M62, and the progress being made with the new market and Time Square development in the town centre.

Other developments on the horizon will look to create a vibrant, dynamic and colourful city by 2040, with Steve himself believing Warrington could become a city within 5 years. The City Centre masterplan, which is worth a read is split into the following areas;

  • City Centre Parklands (the unique framework of open spaces that form a green necklace around the town)
  • Keeping the City Centre Moving (enhancing the transportation networks to avoid the current congestion including new road and bridge plans)
  • Development Quarters (Time Square & the Cultural Quarter, Stadium Quarter, Bank Quay Gateway, Southern Gateway and the Waterfront)
  • A City of Culture (Warrington’s distinctiveness with the Museum, Parr Hall, festivals etc)
  • City Centre Living (8,000 new homes in the heart of the city)
  • A New Focus for Business (new offices and hotel space)
  • Management & Maintenance (management and relationship built between all those involved in the city centre)
  • Programme Management & Delivery (timescales for delivery)

Jo Jackson, the Employment Development Manager of Warrington & Co also spoke and discussed upcoming projects supporting local jobs, and helping people into work.

As a member of the Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge and the Civic Society I personally see this as an exciting time for the town, and the positives on offer moving forward in gaining city status. After living in Warrington for  over 7 years and made the town my home, I have enjoyed getting involved within the community to promote it’s distinctiveness to residents and outside. I think is great news that the Transporter Bridge is seen and important heritage asset by the council, and being an integral part of the development plans for the waterfront.

The redevelopment of the Cabinet Works, although I feel a shame to loose has been left in a state of disrepair and now a damaged shell that needs redevelopment. Creating a landmark on this site I feel should be sensitive to the past, while building a city centre for the future.

I believe this is an exciting time for Warrington looking forward, and residents and businesses can get involved with, to create a new city we can all be proud of.

 

 

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Another week of Brexit horrors?

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As well as the inauguration of President Trump to look forward to, although I would rather avoid the coverage, this week like many in the whole period since the result in June, has given much to talk about. I have picked three that caught my eye the most:

Firstly the pound has slumped to a  31-year low today with investors concerned by reports that Theresa May is heading for a hard Brexit from the EU. The pound has dropped 19% against the US dollar since the 24th June, with last October another low point, not long after the Conservative Party Conference, with the news we would leave the bloc by 2019. The pound’s latest drop comes ahead of a of a speech by Mrs May tomorrow (Tuseday), in which she is expected to spell out Britain’s negotiating strategy for Brexit.

Secondly power sharing in Northern Ireland is on the verge of collapse after Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness pulled out of the executive last week, over how a government scheme funded by the taxpayer was handled. From this evening, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire will have the authority to trigger new elections, in the hope that new politicians will be returned to the parliament and power-sharing can then continue. An election has now been called for the 2nd March however if still issues and Stormont is collapsed, Theresa May might be unable to trigger Article 50 and begin the withdrawal process from the EU, as Northern Irish politicians will not be sitting in parliament. This could lead a delay of several months as NI politicians would not be able to approve Brexit plans.

Thirdly in his first UK interview with former Justice Secretary Michael Gove for the Times; Mr Trump boosted Brexit supporters’ hopes of a quick US-UK trade deal, which would begin soon after 2019. However Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, raised the prospect of the UK being forced to agree to unpopular aspects if any agreement was rushed. Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the interview had exposed Mr Trump’s opposition to helping refugees and environmental protections and his backing for President Putin. Tim Said: “I don’t know the shape of the Europe that Trump dreams of but I know it frightens me.”

This eventful and divisive period in the history of the country, has shown up many flaws in a referendum campaign I don’t believe should of been allowed in the first place. There was no proper plan for a Leave win before the 23rd June, and nothing has given me confidence since. The thought of leaving also makes me feel sick and have a sense of dread, similar words used by Monica Grady, of the Open University on BBC Question time last week. The whole talk of Brexit has really shown how polarised political views in the country have become, and I really hope politicians and the electorate can be shown what the next step means, before we jump to take us all down that road.

Great start to 2017 in Cornwall.

After a couple of days spent at my parents house over my birthday and new year I headed down to Cornwall. There was time a stop at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, made famous by the writing of Daphne du Maurier which offers great views over the moor, a bite to eat, a shop, rooms to stay (if your brave enough with ghost stories) and a small museum.

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View from Jamaica Inn

Our next stop as National trust members was a look around Trelissick Gardens in the winter sun. The Gardens are worth a visit and walk around in any season, and offered beautiful views over Carrick Roads in the winter sun. There was even a chance in the festive period to get an “elfie” by the Christmas tree.

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View over the Carrick Roads

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“Elfie”

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Winter colour

As the afternoon drew on we headed into Falmouth for St Michael’s Hotel, with a large garden down to the beach and promenade. This was my first visit to the hotel and Falmouth and can’t fault anything, with exceptional service and cleanliness throughout. I booked with my partner after seeing a January deal with a 3 course meal, and my parents booked when I mentioned it, which was lovely.

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Sunset over Falmouth

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Balcony over the sea

It was also a great surprise my mum got us an upgrade to a seaview room with a huge balcony to watch the sun rising and setting over the sea 🙂 The room was large and luxurious with dressing gowns and slippers to use, and kept spotless. The pool was lovely and warm, along with a well kept Jacuzzi, Sauna and steam room. There is also a gym which my partner used and had a lot to offer. The ambiance of the hotel reminded me of being on a small cruise ship with many personal touches.

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Christmas tree in the bar

The food at breakfast and dinner was delicious and with a great choice of options. Unfortunately for myself on the second night I was wasn’t feeling great so had to miss dinner, but the receptionist and other staff were fantastic and refunded me the dinner charge which I didn’t expect, and feel all would go out of their way to help offering the best service.

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View over the Bay.

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View over to St Mawes

On the second day I also felt energised after taking a 7 mile walk along the coast in the winter sun seeing the breathtaking views of the bay as we went. I would recommend St Michael’s and Falmouth, and will definitely return again.

A new start in 2017 and trying to push past the negatives.

I like many am trying to see 2017 as a new start and moving on from the negatives in the world and I experienced in 2016 although there were many good moments. My top 16  great moments of 2016 were:

1. Firewalk raising money for Warrington Disability Partnership.

2. Starting to learning to Drive after a 10 year break.

3. Steam Train ride in Llanberis, Wales.

4. Attending a conference at the Maritime museum in Liverpool on the way forward with the referendum result.  

5. Listening to a lecture by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.

6. Short breaks on the Isle of Wight in May and November.

7. Helping out at the 6,000 prize tombola with WDP.

8. Week long cruise on Britannia around La Rochelle, Bilbao, Last Coruna and Guernsey.

9. Trip up to Northumberland early in the year.

10. Lymm Transport Day with Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge. 

11. Day at Chester Zoo.

12. Afternoon at NT Croome Court near Worcester for my birthday.

13. Keeping up my with blog and writing.

14. Meal out for the 5th Anniversary of meeting my partner Paul Sapple in early May.

15. Creating underground style maps including Warrington, Chester & the Isle of Wight.

16. My cat Jasper getting better after being ill.

As talked about in a previous post on anxiety and  depression, both of which I have experienced throughout my adult live, and have spent days stuck in the house and having feelings of inadequacy in regard to employment. I constantly compare myself to others, and get into a cycle of feeling like I am not worth as much as others, as haven’t “made it yet”. Application forms and interviews I do dread at times with the feeling I won’t be good enough so what is the point? I know I have made mistakes in a couple of jobs I didn’t enjoy and have feelings of guilt about letting myself and others down. I also know have at times procrastinated not knowing which way to go next.

Although I know I am lucky relatively living in a house, get the food I need, have a loving partner, and some great family and friends, and get to visit places I enjoy going to. I need to remember my positives of gaining my degree and the community groups I have been involved with locally.

This new year should be the one I look forward and push past the negatives, and start to train myself to think “make it happen” in regard to employment and feelings of achievement instead of waiting around for something that may never come along.