2019 has almost come to an end.

So we thought it would be good idea to look back on our predictions for what might happen in 2019 in Warrington and see which we got right - and which we got wrong.

Some are serious, some less so.

1 Western Link will be scrapped


The Government was supposed to decide by last summer what would happen with the planned new bypass from Sankey to Walton.

Warrington Guardian: The Western Link project is planned to tackle congestion in the town

It would provide most of the cash for project so without its support, the controversial plan won't get off the ground.

And as we are still waiting for an announcement, it seems increasingly unlikely. Maybe the Government has had something else on its mind.


Well we got this one very wrong.

By April the funding was confirmed and the move was full steam head.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the Government will put £142.5 million towards the project, with Warrington Borough Council to contribute £70.2 million.

2 Ian Brown and the Stone Roses to be announced as headliner for Neighbourhood Weekend 2020


The festival at Victoria Park was a huge success in 2018 and the line-up for 2019 looks even stronger.

Warrington Guardian: Ian Brown at Heaton Park

But surely this Warrington event needs a Warrington link?

Here's to Ian Brown and the Stone Roses headlining the 2020 version - or is there space for a 2019 guest spot....?


Well, spot on. Ian Brown is headling the Saturday of the two-day event.

Indie favourites Catfish and the Bottlemen headline the Sunday

3 The swing bridges to remain unpainted


Now work was due to start in 2018, it is promised we will hear something in 2019.

Warrington Guardian: Latchford swing bridge

But after years of statements we see no reason to believe 2019 will be the year that the town's rusting and shabby swing bridges get a revamp.

But if Peel wants to put its hand in its vast pockets, we would be delighted to be proved wrong.


Well this one proved right. Work has still not started although Peel says it will now happen in 2020.

We won't hold our breath!

4 Cineworld to open ahead of schedule with a 270 degree screen


If you go past the cinema, it looks almost ready now!

It is set to open as part of the 2020 wider opening of Time Square.

Warrington Guardian: Will a cinema finally be coming back to Warrington town centre? An artist's impression

But surely bosses at Cineworld want to be open for Christmas 2019?

And we think there will be a 270 degree screen X which is the latest craze. Cineworld's equivalent to Imax is already promised


Well right again. Cineworld opened earlier this month - the first town centre cinema in more than a quarter of a century.

It boasts 13 screens, a Starbucks and a Baskin Robbins.

5 Pizza Express to be named as one of the restaurants for Time Square


While we are on Time Square, we are still waiting for a restaurant to be confirmed for the new £139 million development.

Warrington Guardian: pizza express logo

Rumours have been rife but Warrington town centre is missing a Pizza Express. There is one in Stockton Heath of course, but none in the town.

Its addition to Time Square would surely be a welcome fit.


A little wide of the mark here.

While Pizza Express were believed to be interested, the market for restaurants continued to be tough in 2019 and they did not sign up.

The Botanist did though and has already enjoyed great success

6 It will finally be OUR YEAR


Two final defeats in 2018 were a pretty good start to the Warrington Wolves career of coach Steve Price.

So surely with Wigan under new management and Saints best player getting on the first plane back to Australia, Warrington are ready for honours.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington Wolves head coach Steve Price. Picture by Mike Boden

Six new signings are in place, Ben Currie is fit again (at least until April) and the Wire have never looked stronger.

Expect at least either a Challenge Cup or Grand Final in the trophy cabinet come October


Well we were very happy to be proved right this year.

While a fourth placed finished meant ultimate disappointment in the league, the Wire smashed arch rivals St Helens in the final at Wembley. And thousands enjoyed the party at the Town Hall

Warrington Guardian:

7 Warrington confirmed as World Cup host


While we are on rugby, expect some good news this month.

Warrington Guardian: Window on Warrington kicks World Cup off in style

Venues are due to be confirmed for the 2021 World Cup soon. After the success of 2013, The Halliwell Jones Stadium would be the obvious choice.

We think a Tonga or New Zealand clash and Tonga to stay in Warrington would be a good bet


In January, it was confirmed Warrington would host three games. Which teams will be playing is set to be revealed next month

8 Great Sankey will finally have a swimming pool again


It has been shut since 2016, it was supposed to reopen in 2017 and again in 2018.

But so far, there has been nothing to report.

Surely after all the delays, it will finally open in 2019?

Warrington Guardian: Great Sankey neighbourhood hub

And even if it doesn't a new private gym with a pool is set to open at Gemini so people in the area can go there


Warrington Guardian:

Well after the long wait, the new facility opened in April.

And it looks great

9 The local plan to be published - and it will be deeply unpopular


Another decision that was due to be made in 2018 was the publication of the draft local plan.

In short, the document will dictate where houses and new businesses can be built in the coming decades.

Warrington Guardian: Land at Moore Nature Reserve has been proposed for development in the local plan 'preferred development option'

It has already been delayed until March and could be pushed back further.

However, we think it will finally be published, but expect a huge outcry if proposed development on the green belt is included.


Well it was published in April and people had a 12-week consultation period.

More than 3,500 people responded and so the final publication before the Government takes a look was also delayed.

The council says it will now happen next year

10 Travellers will take over Warrington again, talk of a transit site will take place but no site will be suggested


Come the spring and Warrington will have its usual problem of dealing with unauthorised traveller encampments.

Warrington Guardian: The travellers

A call will be made for a transite site but, almost a decade after first looking at the issue, councillors will again fail to find a site.

With a local election coming in 2020, don't expect councillors to be in a hurry to make any controversial decisions.


Well very true. Nothing has happened.

Another summer with many problems, but still no transit site. And with local elections in May, don't expect any action this year either.

The council did install a barrier at Woolston hub for £5,000 to stop encampments. But it was too narrow so it needed changing. At the cost of another £5,000

11 A mayor might actually last a full year


In case you missed it, Warrington's last two mayors did not make the end of their year.

First, Faisal Rashid was elected as MP.

Warrington Guardian: Cllr Karen Mundry

Rather less gloriously, Cllr Les Morgan was forced to quit last year after one of his Facebook blunders saw him make ill-advised jokes about two Warrington players.

But this year, we are in safe hands with Cllr Karen Mundry, who has been a well-liked and popular first citizen.


Well done Karen Mundry, a successful Mayoral year. And Wendy Johnson has been similarly gaffe free after she took over in May

12 Warrington to go a week without a traffic jam


We had to put one completely ridiculous one in.

Although this past week of bank holidays and Christmas might be as good as it gets, unless you tried to get on Riverside Retail Park.

Warrington Guardian: Water company apologises for traffic chaos

In all seriousness, the Centre Park Link, which is expected to be ready next year might help.

Until then, be ready for more jams, and frustration.


This was a light hearted one. But the continued problems on the road are no laughing matter.

At least the Birchwood roadworks are almost complete

13 Sankey Station will in effect shut


The new Warrington West station is due to open this summer.

A few hundreds yards down the track though, it looks less bright for Sankey station.

Warrington Guardian: Sankey for Penketh Station

The council said the opening of the £19 million Chapelford station would not be the end of Sankey.

But when it does open, trains stopping and Sankey will reduce to just four a day. One to Liverpool or Manchester in the morning rush hour and the same in the evening.

It will probably never officially close but, in effect, it will cease to have a purpose.


The new Warrington West station finally opened this month after months of delays.

Sankey Station won't officially close. But just four trains a day means it is not exactly busy 

14 A new theatre could be close in Warrington


It has long been talked about but could 2019 finally be the year?

Cllr Dan Price has spoken of his commitment to a new theatre and plans have been progressing.

Warrington Guardian:

Mr Smith's was suggested at one point

Could they be revealed this year?

And will Warrington support them?

It could be a crucial year for the arts and culture with hopes for the development of Warrington Museum and the Pyramid also high.


Well the Drill Hall plans were shelved in the summer, shortly after Dan Price resigned from the Labour Party over Brexit.

But positive news comes in the form that a theatre company will take up residency in the Pyramid in 2020.

Culture Warrington is also considering a scheme to create a small theatre inside Pyramid

15 We will be one step closer to a new hospital


There is a long way to go but by the end of 2019 could we have a clearer idea of whether Warrington could get a new hospital.

Warrington Guardian: Warrington Hospital

Throughout this year political and NHS leaders at Warrington have made it clear they want to lobby for a new hospital.

Either based at the current site or a new one - whichever is best.

So with a bit of good fortune, some plans could be revealed this year.

Because the sooner there is a more modern hospital in Warrington, with better parking, the better for everyone


Not much to report here.

Everyone in Warrington wants one, but we are no further on.

The Government announced money for new hospitals in September, but Warrington was not on the list 

16 Warrington Town to take a step closer to league football


Whisper it quietly but come April, the Yellows could be just two divisions away from league football.

It is a remarkable rise for the side which has enjoyed huge progress in the past decade.

Manager Paul Carden has assembled another strong squad with ambitions for a spot in the National League North should they win promotion this year.

Warrington Guardian: Yellows boss Paul Carden. Picture by John Hopkins

A title and promotion could be coming to Cantilever Park in 2019


Well Town could not have come closer.

An extra time defeat to Kings Lynn in May saw promotion dreams end in heartbreak.

But after a mixed start to the season, the Yellows are likely to be in the promotion shake-up again come April

17 A new hotel will be booking into the Cultural Quarter


There was much scoffing when the Cultural Quarter was created (and there still is if comedians at the Parr Hall are to be believed.

Warrington Guardian: The Parr Hall

But a quiet revolution has taken place in recent years with bars and restaurants opening - culminating in the beautiful restoration of the old Treasurey Buildings.

Next we are predicting a small boutique hotel will open in one of the many listed buildings.

With a monthly makers market to enjoy and amenities close by, who wouldn't want a weekend in Warrington?


Well in September, we revealed that Marwan Koukash had plans for a building on Sankey Street.

Warrington Guardian: Brian Noble, with Marvin Koukash during his spell with Salford last year, says Jimmy Lowes' tactical nous will be vital if Bradford Bulls are to achieve promotion

Expect this to move quickly in 2020

18 New tenant for Toys R Us building


It is hard to believe it is almost a year since Toys R Us closed.

The popular toy store went into administration at the start of 2018 and the Gemini store closed in March.

Warrington Guardian: Toys R Us announces Warrington closing date

It has been empty since but we think 2019 will see a new occupier move in.

Who will it be? Well a gym, Waitrose and car showroom have all been rumoured for the site.

But the smart money would be a discount retailer.


It took a while but in October, it was confirmed that the building had been sold.

Arnold Clark will open up as a car showroom

19 Eric Tucker's art to get a permanent home


One of the quiet successes of 2018 was the unveiling of Eric Tucker's art in Padgate.

Thousands of people queued at the home of the Padgate painted, who died earlier in the year, to see that work he spent a lifetime creating.

Warrington Guardian:

Although this posthumous collection of his work was his first - he never exhibited his Lowry-style paintings while alive.

So expect 2019 to be the year when Eric's work is put on show at Warrington Museum so a large number of people can see his paintings.


The exhibition opened in November and runs until February.

It is free and wonderful. If you haven't seen it yet, then take the time to head along.