I LIKE a bit of optimism from the people who are in charge.

You wouldn’t want the great and good of Warrington wandering round with long faces, filled with doom and gloom, would you.

And yes, while times are hard – mainly thanks to years of austerity – I believed what I had been told about the town.

Apparently we have ridden out the bad times better than a lot of comparable towns and cities across the country and good times are just around the corner.

And to be fair, there is a certain amount of physical evidence to back this up.

The former Alban retail park, now known as Junction Nine, is booming, or so it seemed to me when I struggled to find a parking space; we have a shiny, new town centre car park (and if that isn’t evidence of the council’s optimism in the future of the town I don’t know what is); the new Time Square development is coming on at a remarkable pace and don’t forget the £650,000 project to turn Springfield Street, Palmyra Square North and South and Queen’s Gardens into a ‘pedestrian-friendly’ area before finally linking with Bridge Street via the revamped Cabinet Works site.

(I’m not a particular fan of the Palmyra Square project. I can’t help but think if the council has £650,000 to spend, it could have been put to better use but what do I know.

Better brains than mine are in charge of that particular pot of gold.) So there we have it, just a few of the projects that prove conclusively Warrington is on the up, it’s the place to be.

Or is it?

I suppose it depends on your criteria.

Last week, the BBC website ran a feature on the UK towns and cities with the highest wages.

Having listened carefully over the years to all the ‘good news’ stories about how successful we are, I confidently expected to see Warrington right at the top of the list.

Surely the vibrant local economy would be reflected in salary levels.

Even if I was being over-optimistic Warrington, with all its investment would have to be in the top half of the league table.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

Broadly speaking, according to the BBC, there is a definite north-south divide when it comes to wages, with most of the lowest paid towns and cities in Yorkshire and the north west of England.

Huddersfield has the second lowest wage of any large town or city, with its workers earning £424 per week on average.

It is followed by Birkenhead and Wigan, where workers are paid £428 and £436 respectively.

If you live in London, you can expect an average weekly wage of £727.

There were only six other towns where the weekly average was above £600: Reading £655; Crawley £633; Milton Keynes £619; Cambridge £609; Slough £606; and Oxford £600.

You have to go a long way down the list before you find Warrington with an average weekly wage of £510, some way below the national average of £539.

And the report even singled out Warrington for some special – unwelcome – attention.

Workers in jobs classed by the Office for National Statistics as ‘elementary occupations’ such as cleaners and security guards are paid less in Plymouth and Warrington (£205 per week) than anywhere else in the country.

Just to put that figure in some kind of perspective, in Slough, people in equivalent roles are paid about twice as much.

There’s nothing to be proud of in that particular statistic.

The next time someone at the Town Hall tells me how lucky I am to live in Warrington and how well we are doing, I might want to see a bit more evidence than a new car park and some new pavements round Palmyra Square.

A quick question. When are we likely to see any of the £1million to renovate the town’s libraries being spent?

Some of the buildings are in dire need of urgent repair but despite being promised the cash by Warrington Council, nothing seems to be happening.

I do hope it’s not all earmarked for the one or two libraries that have made the most noise over recent months.

As the saying goes, mend your roof while the sun is shining. Well the sun is shining now so how about cracking on with the repairs we have been promised?