Russ Bowden, Warrington Borough Council leader, explains how the next generation can thrive in town

I’m sure many of you who have visited the town centre recently will see the excellent progress being made on the Time Square scheme. It’s hard not to get excited about it! The announcements made so far - including The Botanist, 13-screen Cineworld and flagship market hall - signify that Time Square will be a regional leisure destination for Warrington and beyond. There will be something for everyone to enjoy – and it’s all on our doorstep.

I had the recent pleasure of being a judge for North West Young Market Trader of the Year 2019 in which Warrington-based micro-brewery Modern Day Monks were crowned champions. The event was hosted by the National Market Traders Federation and there were 25 brilliant finalists from across the region.

What’s even more welcome news is that 10 of 13 regional finalists shortlisted for the national finals are from Warrington. This gives our town a great chance to yet again be home to the Young Trader of the Year, after greengrocer Rob Leicester’s win in 2018. The grand final takes place in Stratford-upon-Avon on 30 and 31 August – I’ve got my fingers crossed for another Warrington winner.

With our investment in Time Square and a brand new indoor market, we want to provide opportunities to the next generation of thriving independent retailers that are uniquely Warrington.

Warrington Guardian: Time Square car park

It’s also important to note that money we spend with local business means more money retained in the local economy. By spending more money with independents in Warrington, we can secure a strong and prosperous local economy that creates more jobs and promotes a varied and interesting high street.

Finally, on a different note, I’d like thank the countless armies of volunteers, friends and staff who have helped contribute towards our attainment of twelve Keep Britain Tidy Green Flag awards in our town. Green Flags recognise the high quality parks and spaces we have in Warrington and our recent flag awards reflect the dedication that goes into maintaining all of our spaces to such a high standard.

The Green Flag awards and our thriving local market make me consider what we can all do to help Warrington continue to prosper. Whether it’s shopping local to support our local businesses, joining a friends group to help keep a park well maintained or volunteering your time with a local community organisation, there are so many ways we can all ‘count ourselves in’.