IN this week’s column, Warrington South MP Andy Carter discusses plans for a new hospital in the town.

Being called to speak in Prime Minister’s Questions last week has allowed me to ask the Government to back the bid for a new purpose-built general hospital in Warrington.

Over the last year the hospital have done a fantastic job recruiting 240 new nurses, almost 120 healthcare assistants and more than 100 new doctors – but we need more ward space.

Capacity is stretched on the current site, there isn’t sufficient parking, and we know that the current hospital will not be able to cope with future demand given the anticipated growth in the population. I’m very pleased a bid has now been submitted by the hospital trust to the Department of Health, and I used my time on my feet in PMQs to raise the profile of the campaign and speak to Government on behalf of constituents in Warrington.

There has been some great collaboration in forming this bid and I’d like to thank all those that have been involved in making very strong argument, we’ll get an indication of the bid’s success in early 2022.

Being back in Parliament I’ve also had an opportunity to sit down with the transport minister to discuss a number of road related issues in Warrington.

I’m strongly opposed to the toll increase being planned by the owners of the Rixton and Warburton bridge.

I’m keen that ministers know my views and those of my constituents when they come to review any application which might come forward.

I also want ministers to understand the importance of the Warburton road link and the lack of alternative crossings to the west of Warrington.

I’m also pushing hard for investment into new buses to improve services across the town, particularly into more rural areas. These new buses will be zero emission and will run on electric which is better for the environment.

Sticking with bridges, I was pleased to meet with the owners of the Manchester Ship Canal last week who have finally confirmed that surveying work to assess the level of repairs required to the Stockton Heath swing bridge will take place in October, before moving to other bridges in the area. I’ve emphasised that this isn’t just about repainting, there’s also work required on the bridge mechanisms to stop the occasional breakdowns which have caused serious disruption to traffic.

We’ve had a couple of false starts where work was expected to begin, then schedules changed as a result of Covid, but I’m cautiously optimistic we are seeing some progress as we now have an anticipated start date for work in early 2022.

September has also seen a lot of community events return that had previously been cancelled due to restrictions.

Last week I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Lymm May Queen (in September!). The community spirit was really on show and it was great to see Peter Powell the town crier back out doing what only he can do!

It’s amazing how a parade through the village with marching bands and children on floats in the procession can bring everyone out onto the streets, with a smile and a willingness to support one another.

Well done and thank you to Cllr Kath Buckley and her team for organising and thank you to all the other teams of volunteers across Warrington South who have pulled together events so that our communities can enjoy a time together.