The completed Time Square will feature 70,000 sq ft of restaurants and bars

Muse tasked with transforming Warrington

Muse Developments will draw up a major mixed-use scheme for the Bridge Street area of the town centre after being selected as the council's preferred developer.

There will be shops, restaurants, a gym, cinema, food store, indoor market, cultural centre, hotel and council offices.

The council said the scheme is the first phase of a 25-year masterplan for regeneration of the town centre and waterfront area, agreed in late 2008.

The 15 acre site is bounded by Bridge Street in the west and Academy Way in the east, Buttermarket Street to the north and Mersey Street to the south.

Time Square also falls into this area and is owned by the council, having been bought in 2008 with a £6.2m grant from the North West Development Agency.

The first phase of the scheme will be the construction of the new market alongside the existing structure, shops and restaurants.

Despite Warrington's strong business base and employment parks, the town centre is widely regarded as having missed out on the regeneration boom and in need of improvement.

Cllr Terry O'Neill, leader of the council said: "These are exciting times for Warrington. This scheme will completely transform the town centre; bringing new jobs to the local area and providing the entertainment and leisure facilities that are currently missing but needed. Warrington Council wants to give the town centre a new heart and focus and we feel these plans will make it a more attractive place for residents to live and work in."

Darran Lawless, development director at Muse, said: "The announcement is fantastic news and a huge endorsement for Muse and its team of consultants. We have always believed that this development would be a great opportunity to work on a genuine mixed use regeneration scheme which will not only change Warrington but help its people enjoy a much wider range of facilities and services than ever before."

Environmental sustainability and an agreement to maximise local training and employment opportunities were also part of the tender and will be key considerations as plans progress.

Warrington Council's executive board was advised by Warrington & Co, the town's urban regeneration partnership, along with GVA and Cobbetts

Public consultation will begin in 2012 with a provisional start on site date of 2013.

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