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Stallard12

What's your opinion

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In the fifties I always thought that Warrington was  much more of a complete, homely, family town than places like Leigh, St Helens, Widnes and every town in Yorkshire.  Maybe it was the accents or maybe the level of grime or the color of their buses.  Thing is, from what I have seen, all of the Lancashire towns have suddenly got character and Yorkshire has the prettiest villages, while Warrington turned into East Germany !  Please don't be mad, I'm just using Obs ' flowery speech'.

My opinion is that it is all the fault of Warrington being designated a New Town.   What do y'all think?  Would you rather it had slid into rustic, or is economic benefit worth the result ?

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Your "East Germany" comparison is way out to be honest Stall. Warrington is a very large town and, by all accounts, very successful economically, with some parts rustic. Something for everyone if you like. I've been a Warrington resident for over 30 years and am generally happy here.

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Where do I find character in Leigh exactly?

In my view the problem with Warrington started when the New Town was disbanded and Terry O'Neill and his acolytes put the brakes on necessary development for decades having already stopped the road schemes that supported the existing development and all the future stuff too. It caused the overheating of house prices in the south as houses in the New Town area had to be attractive to those with jobs in Manchester and Chester so that the traffic mostly went towards the M56 rather than over the swing bridges, the new high level crossing being scuppered by the council. That problem in the south was made worse by the designating of everything that could be as Green Belt, even though much of it was not envisaged as such by the Cheshire County Structure Plan, which effectively created our Green Belt. It was done by the Lib Dems to protect the south from further development and protect the inflated house prices. Meanwhile every square foot of the North was developed but the expressway that was promised by the council when Junction 8 of the M62 was built never happened. Protecting Orford Park was more important than fixing traffic chaos.

Being a New Town was a chance to get it right but the council fought against progress every inch of the way.

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As I said Asp, just flowery language, cos I was having difficulty putting my feelings into words.   Maybe I'm wrong, I believe it happened once before, don't want to make a habit of it.  I just know that the town center, with the traffic circle, flower beds and Montague Burtons felt like home.  Buses scraping sides on Sankey Street, walking up Horsemarket in the drizzle and waiting at the bus stop seemed better when it wasn't pedestrian only.   Maybe Im just getting old, I was 81 this week, still playing sport and traveling the world, but maybe nostalgia is becoming more intense.

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Yes Stall, I know what you mean. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be unfortunately.

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Your not wrong Stall;  most Northern Towns are now ghost towns incl Warrington.   New Town was grafted onto the outside of the Town like a polo mint, with a linear road system feeding the need for a car, out of town retails centres built like lego land, while the TC rotted away.  Likewise, residents were encouraged to the periphery,  depopulating the TC.  Golden Square literally moved the TC to the NW,  Leaving the rest abandoned. All development has been developer led, making it piecemeal, without any attempt to any overall integrated plan. 

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There's more to a town than just its centre. Where I live isn't part of the New Town project, in fact my house was built in 1932.

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If not referring to an earthquake the dictionary definition of epicentre is: The central point of something, typically a difficult or unpleasant situation. Seems fair.

Obs, the New Town was not developer led at all. Each development was based on a plan and a delivery contract with the New Town or the CNT, exactly like the arrangement now in the South with Homes England (the successor to the New Town). The development at Chapelford was actually led by the Government too through the sale with lots of conditions by the Ministry of Defence. This idea that everything is developer led is mischief from those that want to return to council housing as the norm which they wrongly believe was the case before.

The scale of Golden Square was originally set incorrectly in my view. The shop units were set too small to have sufficient range of stock for the size of town Warrington was set to become. Equivalent sized towns had larger units and this may have been the consequence of the rejection of the New Town even then. The extension had larger shops but by then there was a mismatch between the rents for a central Warrington shop and the takings it could provide. The constant animosity towards the car, partly caused by the inadequacy of the road network, means that it became easier to shop outside the Town Centre. Not everyone can do a weeks shop and get it all home on the bus!

What really kills shops off is pedestrianisation where the area is not one with a unique selling point that means that folk still want to walk there. The problem is that planners see successful pedestrian areas such as the old centres of places like York and attribute the success to the pedestrianisation instead of the eclectic mix of shops and tourist appeal.

Where is the place in Warrington Town Centre that you cannot stop people wanting to go such that putting barriers like pedestrian areas will not stop them? The council are betting on a cinema, restaurants and their own offices as well as the Market being such an area, that is the driving notion of Time Square (along with free offices for the Council) so we must hope that it works. The number of users will probably be larger than anything in the recent past.

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15 hours ago, asperity said:

Yes Stall, I know what you mean. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be unfortunately.

I always thought nostalgia was exactly what it used to be.......🤔

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Didn't say N/T was a developer; it provided the planned infrastructure; which was a "T" shaped alignment linking it's new housing developments, thus ignoring and not integrating with the existing Town - a radial system would have been preferable.   The Planners did have plans that attempted a vision for the TC, but they were forgotten with every individual planning app by developers, with politicians valuing expediency over real planning.  What by and large we got was cheap lego sheds of no architectural value, piece meal development, without any general integration and improvement of the townscape. As for the car,  it dominated planning, meaning that major venues didn't have to be sited along major (bus) routes; thus sealing the dependency on the car and consequent car parking (EG the Hospital).

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I think at the time there was a national love in with cars & nobody at the time ,in planning terms ,foresaw what problems they would cause 50 years in the future. Public transport was probably expected to disappear altogether.

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Obs, I would question your conflating the parking problems of the hospital with the town centre planning. Perhaps the best plan would be to knock down the whole of the town centre as it is now and build a huge hospital in its place. Then surround the mega-hospital with acres of car parking served by electric busses a la Disneyworld Florida.

This comes to mind:

https://youtu.be/xWwUJH70ubM

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Given the choice, most of us would prefer the convenience of a car, however councils seem to disagree with this and prefer us all to use bikes and public transport. But given they can’t force us to use the bus, they instead do as little as possible for the motorist, even to the point where it looks like they’re deliberately trying to make it more difficult for private car owners to get around.

Fast forward to 2050 where we’re all electric and most of the environmental arguments won’t exist. People will still prefer to own a private car over a shared-self-driving Ubermoiles but either way, the lack of foresight means we’ll probably still be on roads designed for the horse and cart, traffic lights designed by five year olds and still not enough parking places.

Clearly our planners should have watched the Jetsons when they were kids rather than Bill & Ben!

Bill :)

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It's a habit that won't be cured, despite the ranting and raving of the tree huggers.  What they promise is a life of economic austerity, whilst the majority prefer the comfort of the car, despite being stuck in traffic queues for ever longer periods.  Meanwhile, the kids (our future) are equally wedded to being taken everywhere, check out the school run.

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Funny how it's the people wedded to car use complaining about the people who are wedded to car use 🤔. "But, but, but I NEED to go by car, all these other people don't NEED to go by car, they should use the bus".

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In the modern era with the need of being able to go everywhere ,door to door by car is it pedestrianisation schemes that are also killing town centres & also helping to boost internet shopping ? Where i live ,more shopping happens at most shops outside of pedestrian zone hours when people can park outside where they want to shop. 

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Sorry Obs, I thought you were a driver in Warrington. Carry on with the bus travel 😏.

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On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2020 at 2:50 PM, Observer II said:

Didn't say N/T was a developer; it provided the planned infrastructure; which was a "T" shaped alignment linking it's new housing developments, thus ignoring and not integrating with the existing Town - a radial system would have been preferable.   The Planners did have plans that attempted a vision for the TC, but they were forgotten with every individual planning app by developers, with politicians valuing expediency over real planning.  What by and large we got was cheap lego sheds of no architectural value, piece meal development, without any general integration and improvement of the townscape. As for the car,  it dominated planning, meaning that major venues didn't have to be sited along major (bus) routes; thus sealing the dependency on the car and consequent car parking (EG the Hospital).

Obs,

Warrington was unusual in providing what are now referred to as Urban Villages where employment centres and residential areas were built close together and with walking routes between them in Birchwood and Westbrook. The development in the south was stunted as I have said before. The road T was not designed to ignore the TC but to by-pass it for traffic from the new town housing to employment areas. What is now Midland Way with the ludicrous car part access was planned and built as the Central Expressway to keep traffic out of the TC on its way to the other New Town road, Sankey Way. The fact that the T shaped roads were not built is why our roads are congested today. The target population for the single carriageway system, which was all designed to be capable of being turned into dual carriageway was the size Warrington is today with less traffic lights and no silly speed restrictions. For example Cromwell Avenue was designed for 40 mph which is why there are no footpaths directly adjacent to the carriageway. The New Town development was fully master-planned and cannot be thought of as piecemeal - that would be what came later. As for the Hospital it went where the free building was as you well know as I assume no one else wanted to use a workhouse.

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Asp, I would prefer to use public transport whenever possible. It does need to be frequent to make it the obvious first choice and that means about every 10 minutes; you also need to have a connection at the same frequency from the town centre to where you want to go. In addition the bus stops need to be within 300 to 400m of the place you need to go. These simple truths have been understood for decades along with the fact that there has to be a service at night too.

Many of these characteristics have not been met and until they are the car will rule.

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I get what you're saying Con, and I guess I'm spoilt living, as I do, in Penketh with 10 buses an hour into town during the day, and about 3 buses an hour in the evening. I suppose it's a chicken and egg situation really. If people aren't using buses they become infrequent. If buses are infrequent people are reluctant to use them. So a large subsidy required to encourage more buses for longer periods of the day into the night. If I knew the solution I'd be a rich man. Fortunately I don't go out at night much, and when I do go out I'm not generally in a hurry.

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2 hours ago, Confused52 said:

Obs,

Warrington was unusual in providing what are now referred to as Urban Villages where employment centres and residential areas were built close together and with walking routes between them in Birchwood and Westbrook. The development in the south was stunted as I have said before. The road T was not designed to ignore the TC but to by-pass it for traffic from the new town housing to employment areas. What is now Midland Way with the ludicrous car part access was planned and built as the Central Expressway to keep traffic out of the TC on its way to the other New Town road, Sankey Way. The fact that the T shaped roads were not built is why our roads are congested today. The target population for the single carriageway system, which was all designed to be capable of being turned into dual carriageway was the size Warrington is today with less traffic lights and no silly speed restrictions. For example Cromwell Avenue was designed for 40 mph which is why there are no footpaths directly adjacent to the carriageway. The New Town development was fully master-planned and cannot be thought of as piecemeal - that would be what came later. As for the Hospital it went where the free building was as you well know as I assume no one else wanted to use a workhouse.

"The road T was not designed to ignore the TC but to by-pass it" - sounds like the same thing.   However I do agree with you on Midland Way, which was cited as an "expressway", until the Council decide it wanted the G/S car park and a contrived access arrangement into it, with more traffic lights.  However, it still gets clogged up with traffic queues, so not exactly an "expressway".   Doesn't matter how many roads you build,  they clog up due to the increase in the number of cars.  I didn't claim N/T developments were "piecemeal", but that they were not integrated with the existing town,  it was subsequent developments by developers that were piecemeal, and didn't conform to any integrated vision or master plan for the town as a whole, which could have addressed such things as siting major venues on main public transport routes, so political expediency and bad planning throughout.

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A slight digress, but what's the actual speed limit on the "Expressway"? I believe it's 30 mph, but when it's not congested, most seem quite happy doing 40 or more. I always feel a bit uncertain when driving along there as I don't like holding others up but equally I don't want a ticket.

Bill :)

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