A £7 million 'state of the art' operational depot which has been an 'aspiration' of the council could open in May 2019.

At Monday's executive board meeting, members approved plans to amalgamate the authority's operational services to a new facility at the existing Woolston depot, on New Cut Lane.

As part of the move the School Brow depot will be decommissioned and sold.

During Monday's Town Hall meeting Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for highways, transportation and public realm, said the new site would be a 'state of the art facility'.

In his report to members, he added: "The council's existing operational depot assets are in the main an historical inheritance from an era when operational services and waste management were far less demanding on their property, in terms of need for space and adherence with legislation and statutory obligations.

"As the modern operational service has evolved so have the vehicles, plant and machinery used to deliver it.

"This has left our operational depots wanting in terms of compliance with legislation, space utilisation and flexibility to adapt.

"The use of multiple depot sites creates operational inefficiencies and occupies a larger total land area than necessary, occupying space that could be more beneficially used in Warrington.

"The strategic replacement option has been a past aspiration of the council for a number of years, with various sites being previously considered but not taken forward due to lack of resource or budget.

"With recent austerity measures the authority is looking to areas in which it can make efficiencies and cost savings, while not adversely affecting the services that it offers to its residents.

"The proposed project is to amalgamate a number of the authority's operational services in to an extended and redeveloped Woolston depot.

"This would then enable the decommissioning of the School Brow site, removing its existing revenue financed operation and maintenance costs and enabling it to be sold and redeveloped for more appropriate uses."

The anticipated total project capital cost is £6.99 million but capital receipts from the School Brow site, along with other sources of development income, could bring the overall investment balance down to around £3.65 million.

The next stage of pre-construction is forecast to cost a maximum of £675,000.

The executive board unanimously approved the relocation plans, as well as the pre-construction budget.

A planning application for the redevelopment could be submitted in October, with the 14-month works on site planned to begin next March.

The transfer to new facilities is likely to start in May 2019, with the closure of the School Brow depot set for July 2019.