Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Boost for Warrington's Plan for All Electric Bus Fleet

AMBITIOUS proposals for the borough to develop an all-electric bus fleet depot, as it bids to become carbon neutral have been boosted.

Warrington’s Town Deal plans have been bolstered thanks to an accelerated £1 million funding grant.

The funding aligns with the council’s previous bid for £25 million through its town investment plan as part of the national Town Deal initiative.

It will be allocated to supporting the Labour-run authority’s ambition to relocate the current Warrington’s Own Buses current depot, close to Wilderspool Causeway, to land off Dallam Lane.

A key strand of the council’s town investment plan and bid for funding was to deliver an all-electric bus fleet depot, which will provide the stimulus for the full electrification of a Warrington bus fleet and replace the current depot with land for sustainable housing.

Confirmation of this £1 million advanced funding, therefore, provides the council with welcome support to prepare Warrington for delivering a bus fleet ‘fit for the future’, as well as modern town centre accommodation.

Leader Cllr Russ Bowden said: “I am pleased to see that our ambitions through our Town Deal work has been recognised.

“We have been working very closely with our business, education and political leaders across the borough to create an ambitious, yet realistic, vision for the town centre, so to receive this accelerated payment is recognition that the Government agrees with our plans for Warrington.

“We have the opportunity now to begin work in our town to deliver a new all-electric bus fleet, which can play a vital role in helping us achieve our target of carbon neutrality by 2030.

“The prospect of being able to unlock space in the town centre at the site of the current depot, for housing for our residents is also a positive step in the continued economic growth of our town.”

Through the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, the Government has announced an immediate £80 million funding for more than 100 towns to use in this financial year.

Conservative Warrington South MP Andy Carter says the cash will give towns and high streets across the county the opportunity to drive economic growth and improve prospects for their communities.

He added: “I’m delighted after speaking to the secretary of state from communities last week that we have been able to secure this funding for Warrington.

“Regeneration of the town centre is one of our top priorities and this initial funding will go towards plans to relocate the current bus depot on Bridge Foot for an all-electric bus fleet. This is in addition to the £5.2m already confirmed.

“This is just the start and is part of the Towns Fund Deal worth up to £25 million.

“It was promised when I was elected that I would get Government support for our hospital, schools and town centre and I will keep pressing Government every single day to make sure we get our fair share.”