THERE is reason to cheer in Warrington this week with planning approval seen for the greatest change to the town centre for a decade.

Since Golden Square opened its doors to the new centre, Bridge Street and the market has slowly become more empty.

Shops have closed, stalls on the market have pulled down the shutters.

But the agreement on Thursday night offers real hope now for the future.

A new market hall will be built in the old Boots building on Bridge Street – which has rather shamefully remained closed since 2006.

The success of a rejuvenated market can be the catalyst for growth in the shops and businesses around it.

Not only will Bridge Street come alive, but so to will Time Square.

A new cinema will bring people back into the town centre between 5pm and midnight – and there should be associated restaurants and bars in the area too.

The success of the Cultural Quarter in the past year shows there is an appetite for an alternative night out in the town centre.

There is no reason why that cannot be replicated in Bridge Street and Time Square.

So in three years time, we could be looking at a totally different town centre.

THREE years time should also see the final closure of Arpley.

Councillors agreed a plan offered up by the owners FCC also on Thursday to stop dumping within two years and to landscape for one year.

What must be ensured now is that this deal is completely water tight.

There can be no wiggle room for FCC to continue dumping past this date. People in Saxon Park and Sankey Bridges have had enough and now deserve to be treated with respect. Hopefully the deal doesn’t allow for any changes and means we can finally see an end to this chapter.

Whether the decision at the meeting was clear to the many, many residents who turned up to hear, is another matter though.

Residents were herded into a committee room, only to be told immediately they had to leave while councillors met in private, to return 15 minutes later for a brief discussion and decision.

Democracy is clearly thriving if so many people are willing to turnout on a Thursday night to listen to councillors speak.

Surely they deserve a clearer explanation from those in charge about why decisions are being made.

THIS week, we report on the sad death of former councillor David Earl.

He was exactly what a councillor should be. A man who cared deeply about the town he lived in and the people he represented. He worked extremely hard for Westbrook and Warrington as a whole during his time at the Town Hall.

He will be greatly missed.