The first four Reconnecting Runcorn Town Deal Business Case Summary Documents have now been submitted to the Government – marking a significant milestone and a big step closer to unlocking the £23.6m of Towns Fund investment earmarked for Runcorn.
In July 2021, it was announced that Runcorn would be awarded £23.6m as part of the Government’s Town Deal scheme, following the submission of the Runcorn Town Investment Plan (TIP).
Given the title ‘Reconnecting Runcorn’, the TIP is made up of seven projects, suggested by local people, businesses, community groups, and the local authority.
To release the funding to enable work to start on the ground, each project is required to submit a detailed business case with evidence that demonstrates how it meets certain criteria set by the Government. This includes setting out the outcomes and benefits to the community of each project; assurance that the project is fully costed and that it will deliver value for money; and that any potential risks have been identified and taken into consideration.
Before handing over to Government, the business cases went through a rigorous local evaluation to assure the Runcorn Town Investment Board that all the Government’s criteria to release funding were met.
The first business case documents submitted are for:
- Runcorn Station Quarter: A new business enterprise facility located conveniently by the west coast railway line. It will offer a range of spaces aimed at individuals, freelancers, and enterprises who are either taking their first steps at setting up their own business, are in the early incubator stages of growth, or simply need flexibility and an agile approach to their working practices. This will attract new businesses, providing a wider variety of job opportunities in the heart of the community, more accessible to local people.
- Brindley Theatre Enhancement: A well-designed extension to the Brindley Theatre with a large cafe-restaurant, relocated library, and a welcoming, safe, and inclusive civic space on the Brindley green, providing a more accessible and visible cultural destination.
- Health and Education Hub: A new health and education facility located at a convenient and accessible location in the current library building, offering local residents improved access to a wider variety of health, wellbeing, and training services aimed primarily at the heath and care sector.
- Creative and Digital Skills Centre: A new home for creative activity on the High Street aiming to encourage young people particularly, to be interested in, and engage with, career routes in this important sector.
Commenting on the milestone, Chair of the Runcorn Town Deal Board, Adrian Fillingham, said: “A tremendous amount of work has been done over the past year to get us to this point. I believe that we have submitted really strong business cases in support of these four exciting, transformative projects.
“I would like to thank all those who have contributed to compiling the business cases as well as those who have worked with us to develop our early ideas and suggestions into what are now, fully fledged, compelling projects.
“I am really hopeful that following this appraisal, the Government will agree with us about the viability of these projects and as a result funding will be released. This will then enable us to push forward with these investment plans that will invigorate our town centre and, we hope, inspire our local communities and businesses.”
It is anticipated that the business cases for the remaining Reconnecting Runcorn projects will be submitted to Government at the end of October 2022, once preparatory work is completed.
It is expected that the Government will take approximately two months to review the Business Case Summary Documents. If successful, each project will continue to develop through the relevant design, planning and procurement processes, which could lead to work beginning on site in earnest in 2023/2024.
More information on the projects can be found on the Reconnecting Runcorn website, www.reconnectingruncorn.info which is updated regularly along with the FAQ section reconnectingruncorn.info/information/