STEVE Park is head of Warrington & Co and writes regular columns for the Warrington Guardian's business pages.

‘YOU will have previously seen me use the phrase 'walk rather than run out of the recession in this column.

And so it was interesting to read the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply response to the unexpected drop in UK manufacturing growth in August which read “Manufacturers are walking rather than running in August as the sector’s performance fell to a 14-month low". While this may make shocking headlines there is still growth, just not as fast as the previous 14 months, so not all bad and indeed linked to a wider slowing in the Eurozone, particularly in Germany and France.

Warrington has an established manufacturing sector that will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on this economic data.

August is a traditionally a slow month in the commercial property market also, but not in Warrington.

There has been a flurry of activity providing a firm indicator of Warrington's position as a UK business and investment hotspot.

In the past few weeks Birchwood Park was sold by MEPC to Oaktree Capital and a German owned fund in a deal thought to be in excess of £100 million.

The Asics unit at Gemini was sold to new landlord Greenstone Sovereign Limited for £2.6 million, Zenith Logistics took a ten year lease on a three acre site at Barley Castle and The Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund (GMPVF) announced that they plan to create a new 13 acre business park; Calver Park off the A49.

Add to this the planning application to build a new 680,000sq ft logistics and manufacturing unit that has just been submitted at Omega, for an as yet unannounced occupier and that amounts to some substantial activity not just on a national scale.

Warrington has often been viewed as an investment ‘safe bet’ but as the economy pulls out of the slump this burst of exciting property activity - particularly last month - shows the buoyancy of the Warrington economy.

Finally congratulations to all those Warrington students who have secured university places and an important note to those who have been unable to secure places, or have indeed chosen not to go to university - the Warrington economy requires skills at all levels, not just graduates, and having spoken to several business leaders I can tell you that many employers often prefer non-graduates with whom they can provide more tailored training.

Best of luck to all students who have recently got their results.”