SO we bid a fond farewell to Terry O'Neill as leader of the council.

It's not a total goodbye though as he's staying on as a ward councillor for Burtonwood and Winwick but he is handing over the levers of power to Cllr Russ Bowden.

So how will history and the people of Warrington judge Cllr O'Neill's time at the Town Hall?

I think it's fair to say the political and economic climate during Terry's tenure wasn't the kindest.

A Labour council under a Conservative government and an ideologically-driven programme of austerity wasn't exactly a recipe for a smooth and trouble-free administration.

Some might say Cllr O'Neill and his Labour group came up with some innovative and imaginative ways to generate income and mitigate the effects of government cuts by using the council's cash reserves to buy into businesses.

It recently bought two major sites in its latest foray into the property market. It has completed a £26.1 million deal to buy Eddie Stobart’s headquarters at Stretton Green Distribution Park from Ropemaker Properties.

And according to Local Democracy Reporter Aran Dhillon, the council has also purchased Talk Talk’s former Stanford House site in Birchwood.

It follows the authority’s deals to buy Birchwood Park for £211 million, as well as Matalan, DW Sports and Pure Gym sites in the town centre.

The rents from the properties the council hopes will offset the impact of cuts in Government funding.

Oh the irony of a Labour council being forced into the staggeringly commercial world of property ownership and management.

But if it works, who are we to judge Cllr O'Neill and his team?

So what are the other plusses and minuses of Cllr O'Neill's time in charge?

There remains a massive question mark over one of the council's other more controversial ventures into the world of commerce – its £30 million investment to buy a 33 per cent share of Redwood Bank.

The council failed to sign off its 2017-18 statement of accounts before the July 31 deadline due to a valid objection questioning whether its investment into Redwood Bank was legal and the matter is still with the council's external auditors.

That still remains something of a dark cloud hanging over the Labour administration, despite Cllr Bowden's apparent enthusiasm for the project when he said: “We are gaining a fantastic reputation for our innovative financial practices, which are supporting the growth of the local economy and helping us protect council services.

"Our partnership with Redwood Bank is the latest example of how we are doing business, to secure a better future for the borough.

"I’m looking forward to it giving a real boost to the local economy and helping Warrington businesses thrive.”

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if this one comes to fruition, won't we?

On the plus side, the redevelopment of the market quarter has the potential to be a massive boost for the town.

I remain staggered by the sheer scale of of the construction and we can all hope it will attract the right kind of businesses when the project is completed.

But by far and away, in my opinion the council's biggest single and ongoing failing – and I suspect one of Cllr O'Neill's greatest misgivings – is the inability to deal with the town's traffic problems.

It doesn't matter what part of town you live in, you can more or less guarantee you are going to be stuck in traffic.

Yes, I know we are still waiting to hear about funding for the so-called Western Link which should help to take some of the pressure off Bridge Foot, but given Labour has been in charge of the town since 2011, the failure to deal with longstanding traffic problems will, I suspect, be forever be one of Cllr O'Neill's regrets.

It's certainly something I regret on a daily basis.