I TEND to get a little concerned when people at the council start saying things like ‘don’t worry’ and ‘everything will be all right’.

It’s not my natural cynicism, it’s just a reaction tempered by years of being told not to worry, everything will be all right...and then it isn’t.

The latest little piece of news emanating from the Town Hall that has me concerned involves the so-called Time Square masterplan.

As it happens I’m a big fan of the project. I look forward to the day when families having a pleasant night out can reclaim the town centre from the teenage 3am drinkers.

When finished next year we will all be able to enjoy a multiplex cinema, permanent market hall, council offices, a public square – and some nice restaurants.

Or maybe not.

The Guardian revealed last week that not one restaurant has signed up for the ‘flagship’ scheme.

Is this a cause for concern, I ask.

Not according to Steve Park, managing director of Warrington & Co, the organisation that ‘brings together the private and public sector to promote economic development and physical regeneration in Warrington’ and is leading the Time Square project.

Mr Park said: “I think the restaurant sector is still very keen on the scheme. Restaurant groups have overstretched themselves in the last two to three years.

“The feedback is that good schemes will still attract restaurants.

“They will not sign up until it is 12 months away from opening. I think if we were 12 months from opening then I would be concerned but we are nearly two years away from opening. We don’t want to panic.”

I honestly, genuinely hope he’s right and I admire his confidence but I just hope he hasn’t strayed into the realms of hubris here.

There are two or three things that make me a little concerned.

In the first instance and on a national level, I think we have seen something of a shift in consumer demand for so-called casual dining. Prezzo and Jamie’s Italian are just two that have hit the headlines. There are others.

And with continued austerity and the unknown effects of Brexit there is no sign of the mid-range dining boom of a couple of years ago coming back any time soon.

Secondly, Time Square has well-established competition with Golden Square on its doorstep.

Last year I was doing some lunchtime browsing in Golden Square and was approached by a man doing a survey about my shopping habits and the facilities on offer there.

A couple of the questions related to the ‘food offer’ at Golden Square and I said it was a shame it didn’t have a food court but perhaps if all the units in the fish market became pubs, bars or restaurants, that would do the job.

I said if they could perhaps put more tables out under the fish market canopy we could have a real continental feel to the place.

It now looks like that is the way it’s going with plans for another couple of units being turned into bars and restaurants.

It already has a ‘public square’ and when the bowling alley is opened, there will also be an ‘anchor’ in the same way the cinema is going to ‘anchor’ Time Square. Time Square is already behind Golden Square.

And if you want to see just how badly wrong town centre regeneration plans can go, have a trip to Northwich. The council invested millions in building a new centre on the old Barons Quay car park.

The shopping centre opened in 2016 and has its ‘anchors’ – an Odeon cinema and an Asda supermarket.

But how many of the other units have been occupied? One. That’s right just one.

Now the council there has had to stump up a £1.3 million marketing budget in a desperate attempt to attract businesses.

Let’s just hope where Northwich went, Warrington doesn’t follow.