COUNCIL chiefs have been urged to meet civil servants to ‘get the ball rolling’ over the prospect of spending up to £25 million to regenerate parts of Warrington.

The Labour-run authority is in the running to receive a chunk of the Government’s £3.6 billion new Towns Fund to develop and implement some of its ambitious plans.

But council leader Cllr Russ Bowden says the town is ‘merely’ on a shortlist and will have to bid for the cash.

Andy Carter, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, says he is thrilled the Government is ‘taking action’ and giving the borough the support it requires.

He added: “I’m absolutely delighted that after months of lobbying Government minister at every opportunity Warrington is getting up to £25 million for regeneration.

“We’ve missed out on funding before but this time we have cash ring-fenced and we can now work together to improve the town – this is a game changer.

“When I was selected as the prospective Conservative MP, I committed to speaking up for the constituency because Warrington wasn’t getting its fair share of support.”

However, the comments have sparked a contrasting response from Cllr Bowden.

“Warrington is merely on a shortlist, along with 99 other towns, and will have to bid for financial support,” he said.

“That is completely different to the ‘decision’ to award us £25 million that is being hailed by Mr Carter.

“He seems to be suffering from the same ‘promise and not deliver disease’ as the ex-Chancellor George Osborne with his pledge for free crossings on the Mersey Gateway.”

Independent borough councillor Dan Price, who was the cabinet member responsible for the town centre up until April when he resigned from Labour, also commented on the situation.

He labelled the Government’s announcement as ‘great news’ for the borough.

“While it’s clear this is blatant electioneering from the Tories, we shouldn’t waste any time in accessing the new fund,” he added.

“When I was responsible for the town centre we worked with stakeholders to produce a plan for addressing some of the key issues in and around Bridge Street and Market Gate, with the aim of delivering new homes, improved digital workspace and enhancing our culture and heritage offer.

“The council should get the ball rolling by meeting with civil servants and putting that plan into action with immediate effect.”