Warrington West Station

Approval nears for £20m Warrington West funding package

Warrington Council will look to approved a £19.7m funding package for Warrington West station at an executive meeting on Monday, allowing contractor Balfour Beatty to begin construction work.

If the funding package is signed off next week, enabling works for the new station on the Liverpool-Manchester line will begin later this month, followed by a full start on site in February 2018.

The project’s timetable also includes a series of rail blockades next year, and the station is expected to open “as soon as possible” following completion of construction works in July 2019.

Monday’s executive meeting will be asked to sign off an additional £2.4m of borrowing to get the project underway, on top of £4.7m of borrowing that was approved in October 2014.

The initial funding package for the scheme stood at £13m.

A report to Warrington Council said that costs had “increased significantly” due to “a change in scope to the scheme originally proposed, changes within rail industry regulation alongside gaining a more detailed understanding of the original costs as presented by Network Rail at the early stages of scheme development.”

The council also blamed construction cost inflation for the increase.

However, the report added: “Whilst it can be seen that the overall budget for the project has increased it should be noted that the scheme retains a strong business case with the forecast benefits delivered rated as offering a scheme giving very good value for money.”

The council is to agree a final funding package, including £13.8m for construction and access; £2.1m for site surveys, investigations, and design; and £2m for Network Rail’s design, approval, and supervision fees.

The station has been backed by £6.5m from the Cheshire & Warrington LEP, as well as £1.9m from Section 106 agreements from the neighbouring Chapelford housing and Gemini sites.

Around £4.2m of the funding has been secured from the Department for Transport’s new stations fund.

Balfour Beatty’s maximum construction works cost for the project will be £13.5m. The project has been procured through the Scape Civils and Infrastructure Framework.

Plans for the scheme were approved by Warrington’s planning committee in July 2017, following two consultation events.

Alongside the new railway station, which will provide platforms long enough to cater for eight-carriage trains, the development also includes a 245-space pay and display car park.

Warrington’s council has argued the project will support the development of 1,600 new homes over the next 10 years, and will add £523m GVA to the wider Warrington area.

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