THE pandemic may well have thrown a spanner in the works for many of us, but as surely as night follows day the wheels of local government continue to turn.

I confess I’m bit late to this particular party, but my attention was drawn to Warrington Borough Council’s plans for a snappily titled town centre ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ (SPD).

When it’s finalised, the document will provide clear design principals that any developers wanting to build in the town centre will have to follow.

As Cllr Judith Guthrie says: "We have strong ambitions to make our town centre an attractive, thriving and sustainable place for everyone who lives, works, and visits here.

"Delivering a high-quality environment in the heart of the town will benefit us all."

That’s difficult to argue with.

I realise that life isn’t very exciting at the moment, but I’m guessing there aren’t many of us who have waded through all 80 pages of the document on the council’s website.

It’s not the most riveting of reads but nevertheless, it does contain a couple of little gems.

One of the questions asked about Warrington in the past goes along the lines of should we consider it as a large town or is it more like a small city?

The council now seems to provide the answer in its planning document – it wants to be a bit of a city and a bit of a town.

The document says: “An integral part of realising [this] prosperity is delivering Warrington town centre as a highly liveable environment, one that provides a balance between that of the city and surburban living and sees the benefit of both.

“The town centre can provide the benefits of city living such as excellent transport connections, a vibrant retail and leisure offer throughout the day and evening and a mixture of cultural attractions close by. As a town rather than a city, Warrington can also deliver a scale of place that is much more people-focused, one that can be crossed on foot rather than by vehicle and within which people can feel a tangible sense of community.”

I’ve mentioned before that when I’m in the office, I work on the eighth floor of a city centre office block with a panoramic view over Manchester.

And what does my view consist of? Massive towers.

So if Warrington is to become a bit of a city, according the new plan, will we be seeing something similar in our town centre.

Well maybe yes and maybe no, depending on what you class as the town centre.

There’s an assumption in the document that any new constructions in the heart of the town centre will need to be on a scale to match existing buildings so we’re looking a three to five storeys.

But as I said, it all depends on what you consider to be the town centre.

The plan identifies five ‘gateways’ to the town.

Northern Gateway: The area in and around the stadium to the north of the town centre.

Southern Gateway: An area centred on Warrington Bridge that crosses the Mersey but extends to include Lower Bridge Street, sites to the south of the Mersey along Wharf Street to Victoria Park and sites around Wilson Patten Street.

Eastern Gateway: This is centred on the Cockhedge Green roundabout at the junction of the A57 and A49.

Western Gateway: This area includes Bank Quay Station and the industrial site to the west.

Central Station Rail Gateway: This area includes Warrington Central Station with sites that link the northern and eastern gateways.

So back to the ‘are we a big town or a small city’ question. The council has some advice for developers wanting whack up a tower or two.

Maybe have a look along the A49 corridor or on Wharf Street near Riverside Retail Park where the council says ‘up to eight storeys of development may be appropriate’. Not tall enough for you? The council says ‘taller buildings yet still may also be appropriate at around 10 to 12 storeys within the ‘identified Gateway Areas where they have a role as positive threshold markers’.

Still not tall enough? The document adds: “This guidance does not seek to prohibit developments that are higher than these stated scales.”

Personally, I can’t wait for all these towers to go up, the bigger the better. Let’s get building.