THE councillor responsible for transport admits plans to tackle congestion misery in Warrington town centre are dependent on the £212.74 million Western Link being built.

The draft local transport plan (LTP4) was backed by the executive board on Monday, which paves the way for a consultation period.

Cllr Hans Mundry, executive board member for highways, transportation and public realm, believes the vision put forward will ‘transform’ how people travel around the borough.

A key aim is to reduce ‘high dependency’ on cars while adding focus on walking, cycling and public transport.

Cllr Mundry said: “At present with the infrastructure in place sometimes you have no option but to use cars to get to where you want to get to.

“This plan is trying to give you different options.

“It is at draft stage, it is going to consultation alongside the local development plan and we need to make sure we get the two things coinciding with each other to make sure we don’t have houses or developments built without proper infrastructure in place to serve that area and actually benefit the town.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Hans Mundry

“It can’t be done in isolation.

“It has to be done together and, in some cases, infrastructure has to be in place before places get developed.”

The controversial Western Link was also discussed by members during the Town Hall meeting.

Warrington Guardian:

Town Hall

A decision is yet to be made on whether the Government will pay for the majority of the proposed bypass, which is planned to tackle congestion in the town.

In total, £142.54 million has been requested, with the council planning to contribute £70.2 million.

If built, it would connect the A56 Chester Road with the A57 Sankey Way in Great Sankey.

Cllr Mundry said: “I think to some degree one of the major things for taking the congestion away from the town centre depends on the Western Link being successful and the timescales are out of our hands with that one.

“To some degree a major part of our scheme is in the hands of the Government.

“We can’t influence their decision-making process any more than we already have done.

“But that will actually take a lot of traffic away from the congestion area of the town centre.

“At present everyone is pushed through the centre of Warrington from one side or the other and I think that is one of the big problems we have got.”

But Labour’s Latchford East councillor admitted the authority’s proposals are unlikely to please many.

Cllr Mundry added: “Going forward, what we are trying to look at is sometimes doing the right thing is not always the popular thing.

“I think we have to take these serious decisions.

“We must do the right thing for the town and the people of Warrington and it may not necessarily be the most popular thing to do.”

The council has also started to investigate a new ‘mass transit network’ for Warrington, which is outlined in the draft LTP4.

The authority’s study considers two possible modes for a mass transit solution – light rail/tram and bus rapid transit.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Dan Price

It has been welcomed by Cllr Dan Price, executive board member for culture and partnerships.

He said: “I think it is vital for the long-term traffic problems in this town that we are looking at a public transport system that will actually drive footfall into our town centre and, also, will make sure that our roads are cleaner and clearer.”