WARRINGTON hopes to secure up to £25 million to help transform its high street.

Towns across the country have been invited to bid for a share of £675 million to remodel their high streets into vibrant community hubs.

The Future High Streets Fund plans to help senior figures deliver bold new visions for town centres, while making them ‘fit for the future’.

Warrington Borough Council has submitted an expression of interest – but is yet to make an official bid.

A spokeswoman confirmed the authority is hoping to hear back from the Government in late summer.

She added: “It is hoped that, as and when we do hear back, that we will be in a position to proceed with the development of a business case that leads to a formal bid.”

Councillors on the supporting the local economy policy committee have been informed about the chance of securing a grant of up to £25 million – which is the maximum amount of money the fund would contribute to an individual successful bid.

Warrington’s Business Improvement District team is working with several leading stakeholders, including Warrington and Co, to identify a project that will help to transform the high street.

But Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, has cast doubt on whether a future bid would be successful.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Bob Barr

He said: “Warrington has some retail vacancies and trading could be better, but it is not as bad as many other towns, so, unlikely to get funded, however good our bid.

“In the next few years the town centre will be transformed, becoming a place to live, work, eat, be entertained and meet people, as well as shop.

“Warrington retains the advantage of being ‘the nation’s most central location’, the New Town slogan. Now it is the town centre’s turn.

“As the new Warrington town centre is unveiled, it will be important to attract new residents, workers and visitors.

“Altrincham has shown that this can be done, now it is going to be important for Warrington to tell its own distinct story and to ensure it is heard.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says the Future High Streets Fund is an essential part of its high street vision, providing co-funding towards capital projects that bring ‘transformative change’.

READ > Campaign launched to save Blackburne Arms pub 

It adds that it wants to see regeneration through innovative proposals around transport, housing delivery and public services.

A series of engagement events, organised by the Cities and Local Growth Unit, have also been held to discuss the funding opportunity.

Independent councillor Dan Price, former executive board member responsible for the borough’s work around the Future High Streets Fund, said: “The criteria for success is not based on the number of empty shop units, it is about the future-proofing of town centres.

“For that reason, we have put forward a proposal around new homes and young people.”