Seven projects aimed at transforming Runcorn Town Centre into a better place to live, work and visit could secure up to £25 million investment from the Government’s Towns Fund.
The projects, suggested by local people, businesses and community groups, make up the Runcorn Town Investment Plan (TIP) – a vision for the town’s future.
The Plan seeks to build on Runcorn’s strengths and address its challenges through improved training and economic opportunities, environmental and transport improvements, and upgraded visitor attractions.
Runcorn was one of 100 towns invited by the Government to develop a TIP and to bid for the funding, with the objective of boosting the economy through investment in regeneration, transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
The starting point was setting up of a Town Deal Board to develop and take the TIP forward, which included consultation and engagement, the setting out of a vision, developing and reviewing projects.
Due to Covid-19, engagement with stakeholders has mainly been carried out online – suggestions were gathered from the public, and a public questionnaire was completed by over 600 people. This was followed up by further survey work and consultation.
A long list of projects was compiled and prioritised according to the funding criteria, resulting in the following projects now being put forward:
Creative and Digital Cluster: As local residents do not always have the skills needed to take up higher skilled job opportunities, and because there is demand for more digital skills, this project will provide a new high street facility giving access to creative and digital play, learning and training.
Mixed-use High Street Hub: Many residents have poorer than average health, so a new high street ‘hub’ will providing improved access to a wider variety of health, wellbeing and training services.
Unlock Runcorn: The town centre has suffered from underinvestment by the private sector, low footfall, low spending, high vacancy rates and many hot food takeaways. This would be a new and unique visitor attraction, making the most of the town’s heritage and waterways, which could help make the town centre thrive.
Brindley Theatre upgrade: The town centre currently lacks welcoming public spaces and well-designed buildings at its heart. This Brindley extension features a large café-restaurant, and a welcoming, safe, and inclusive civic space on the Brindley green, creating a visible cultural destination and supporting the evening economy.
Runcorn Station Quarter: This project comprises a new enterprise facility at the station gateway, with quality modern offices that are lacking in the town centre. These would attract new businesses providing a wider variety of job opportunities in the heart of the community, more accessible to local people.
New homes: Quality homes would be built on a variety of sites which have been left undeveloped due to contamination and other issues. The aim is to achieve a mixed development by attracting older people and families with young children.
High Street transformation: As the town centre environment is dominated by car use, the aim is to create a more pedestrian and cycling-friendly high street and more opportunities for active lifestyles, social interaction and wellbeing, while maintaining bus priority and providing better local connections.
Runcorn’s Town Deal Board will present the TIP to Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board on Thursday before submitting it to the Government by the end of the month.
Cllr Ron Hignett, the Council’s portfolio holder for the physical environment, and member of the Town Deal Board, says: “The Town Investment Plan has the potential to transform the lives of local people and businesses in Runcorn. With the support we have had from the local community groups in putting the Plan together, and hopefully investment from the Towns Fund, we have a great opportunity to make the vision a reality.”
For more information of the Towns Fund and the Town Investment Plan, go to