THE development of Port Warrington is being tipped to create a ‘hub of world trade’ as part of plans to accelerate the town’s economic growth.

An updated version of Warrington Means Business (WMB) – the council’s economic growth and regeneration programme – came before the cabinet during its meeting at St Elphin’s Primary School on Monday.

Members approved the revised framework following discussions.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden said the document is key to the town’s vision for housing and business growth.

He told members it ‘links very clearly’ with the local plan and local transport plan, while highlighting the importance of ensuring all residents ‘can access the prosperity’ of the borough.

“It sets out the business and economic growth strategy and regeneration programme for the town,” he added.

“It’s an absolutely key document because it’s been central to our regeneration agenda as a council.”

The document pointed to key areas proposed for development in the draft local plan – including 8,000 ‘high-density’ homes in the town centre and Warrington waterfront area, as well as the 7,400 properties planned for the garden suburb in south Warrington.

If the draft local plan proceeds unchanged, around 5,100 homes would be built in the garden suburb up until 2037, including 4,200 on green belt land.

A further 2,300 homes would be constructed after 2037.

WMB also highlighted plans to roll out ‘ultrafast’ broadband and 5G mobile across the borough.

It stated Warrington needs to ensure the remaining pockets of poor connectivity, primarily in rural areas, are not left behind.

Another key part of the authority’s vision for growth is the expansion of Port Warrington, which would result in the loss of part of Moore Nature Reserve.

If the plans go ahead, the proposed £212 million Western Link road would provide access to the port.

The bypass would connect the A56 Chester Road with the A57 Sankey Way in Great Sankey.

Along with requiring a high-level bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal, any new link road would need to travel over the Mersey and the West Coast Main Line too.

However, the port would see more than 74 hectares of land removed from the green belt.

But the WMB document says the major investment into Port Liverpool and the increased tonnage being transported along the Manchester Ship Canal puts Warrington and its port ‘at the heart’ of water-based freight transportation and transhipment with ‘access to international trade’, particularly to the Americas.

It adds the development of the port will provide the opportunity to create a ‘hub of world trade’.

The council will be working in partnership with Peel Ports and the Government on the ‘transformational project’.

However, WMB emphasises that the proposed Western Link, along with the Bridge Foot link and Centre Park link, will provide the ‘critical’ highway infrastructure required to help manage congestion.