MORE than a decade after they were first granted planning permission, long-anticipated plans for a new hotel on the site of Gulliver's World look like they might finally be happening.

But many other major development projects that have held grand ambitions for Warrington have long since been kicked into the long grass.

From skyscrapers and stadiums to highways projects, here are just a few schemes that promised so much but never happened.

Skyscrapers on Omega

While the Omega site is still taking shape even in 2019, it is largely defined by the great gargantuan warehouses for the likes of Amazon and the Hut Group that line the M62.

But the original vision for the site was something very different.

In the early 2000s, Omega was envisaged as an office development encompassing parks, lakes and tree-lined boulevards.

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Most eye-catching were the drawings mapping out futuristic skyscrapers never before seen in Warrington - let alone in its western suburbs.

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Eventually, it seems that reality took hold and Omega became the transportation hub it is today.

But more greenery and lakes are supposedly coming later this year as the building of housing on the site continues apace.

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Warrington Guardian: The artist’s impression of the original plans for the site

The Wireworks on Winwick Street

As the Golden Square Shopping Centre redevelopment took shape in the mid-noughties, an even more ambitious scheme was revealed for Winwick Street.

The Wireworks project was approved by the government in 2007, comprising of a cinema, hotel, offices, shop and restaurants - plus 600 flats.

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With construction work due to begin in late 2008, the recession eventually put paid to these grand plans - with artists' impressions of a man in a leotard on a unicycle juggling bowling pins next to a skyscraper sadly never becoming a reality.

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Only now is Winwick Street beginning to find its feet again – with the Base and University Technical College set to be complemented by the planned Warrington Youth Base.

And a £50m 362-apartment development at the junction with John Street is also in the pipeline.

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Warrington Town's high-tech new stadium

In early 2013, Warrington Town revealed ambitious plans to develop a new 5,000 to 6,000 capacity stadium on the former site of Burtonwood airbase.

The proposed new ground – based near to the M62 at Omega South - also had the flexibility to be transformed into an indoor sports and entertainment arena, as part of the Yellows' ambitions to reach the Football League by 2020.

Warrington Guardian: How the stadium could look

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But by October the same year, talks over the development had broken down and Warrington Town remain at their spiritual home of Cantilever Park.

While the club will not be able to make the Football League by next year, the Yellows were promoted in 2015/16 – and are right in the mix to take the step up to the National League North this season.

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Warrington Wolves' move to Burtonwood

From one new stadium in Burtonwood that was quashed, to another.

By the mid-to-late 1990s, Warrington Wolves were on the lookout for a new home to replace their beloved but crumbling Wilderspool home.

As we all know, the Wire would move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium in 2004.

But before their present home became a reality, the club wanted to move to a new home in Burtonwood in the early Super League days.

This scheme was rejected though, and the stadium that we all now know and love and was later constructed on the site of the Tetley Walker brewery.

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The New Town expressways

When Warrington was designated as a New Town in the late 1960s, part of the plan was to create a network of expressways allowing you to commute from one side of town to the other in no time at all.

Anyone with any working knowledge of Warrington will know that this never happened.

The outline plan for these dual carriageways was for two east-to-west expressways, and two from north to south.

A central expressway – vaguely following Winwick Road – would run from junction 21 of the M6 into the town centre and continue to Widnes, with another connecting Birchwood to junction 10 of the M56.

This Birchwood link would also have branched off in the direction of Westbrook and Great Sankey, while the other east-to-west expressway ran between Penketh and Woolston.

Warrington town centre would have been fully-pedestrianised and circled by a single carriageway inner ring road that was not designed to take large numbers of vehicles.

There is some semblance of this plan in the road network of Warrington present, but certainly not to the extent envisaged.

What had been pictured was a traffic-free system similar to the expressways of Runcorn.

The names of the likes of Midland Way, Sankey Way and Westbrook Way give away what they were initially intended to be.

Birchwood Way is probably the only route that comes close to the original designs.

'Under the sea' mural

Whether you love it or hate it, the Pink Eye building is something of an icon in Warrington - and it turns 20 this year.

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However, the original designs for artwork on the side of the Fairclough Mill would have seen it turned into a giant underwater mural rather than the familiar tearful eye.

Artist Tony Turk was refused planning permission for the mural, with Warrington Borough Council expressing concerns that it would distract motorists on the nearby roundabout connecting the town centre to Sankey Way.

Of course, this roundabout would later become widely known as the Pink Eye roundabout thanks to Mr Turk’s redesigned efforts.

Peel Hall

Bringing us right up to date, here is a scheme that was scrapped last month – to the relief of many residents.

Not for the first time, developer Satnam had its eyes on the Houghton Green site in a bid to build 1,200 houses.

After originally being refused planning permission for the development in February 2017, Satnam appealed against Warrington Borough Council's decision.

But the Planning Inspectorate dismissed this appeal in an early Christmas present for campaigners, who labelled the plan as 'flawed'.

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They now want Peel Hall - described by Warrington North MP Helen Jones as the last green space in her constituency - to be removed from the council’s local plan.

And two other plans that could be scrapped...

If we have learned anything from these developments that never came to fruition, it's that you should never count on something opening until it actually does so.

These next two schemes are officially still going ahead, but there are some doubts over them at the very least.

The first is the Bewsey and Dallam Community Hub, which is coming up to two years past its due date.

Ground was broken on the project in March 2016 to much fanfare, but the project has stalled ever since.

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Only two weeks ago, Cllr Colin Froggatt openly questioned whether the development would ever go ahead.

The second scheme which seems fanciful is the Southern Gateway project – supposedly bringing offices, shops, a hotel and 1,300 homes to the banks of the Mersey, bordering the town centre.

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This transformation of Wilderspool Causeway, Marshall Gardens, Wharf Industrial Estate and Old Road includes a 'cluster of landmark buildings' fronting onto the river and eventually - brace yourselves - the partial pedestrianisation of Bridge Foot.

Plans were announced in 2016 and are apparently being delivered in stages.

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For now, we will wait with bated breath to see whether we will ever get to the stage of being able to walk over Bridge Foot without risking our lives - or going for a leisurely swim at the gym and library hub on Longshaw Street.

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