I had intended to comment briefly on the development plans, before moving on to the history of the buildings in and around Bridge Street, but I find myself diverted into an un-looked-for channel.
My background is in the deconstruction and analysis of academic proposals, with suggestions for their improvement, and, as I read through the development plans, I found myself re-polishing my skills.
There are four documents on the council’s website making up a ‘Bridge Street Quarter Masterplan Framework’, produced by a team of consultants; and a ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ produced in-house. Of the two, the latter, published slightly later in May 2009, seems to me to have the firmer grasp of the needs and realities of the area: it breathes local knowledge at every pore. As, I suppose, you would expect.
My main concern about the consultants’ Masterplan Framework, is that their considerable knowledge and technical expertise appears as though it is being applied in the abstract, seemingly without taking into account the particular and individual needs of the area. I feel very strongly that these need to be stressed if Warrington is to retain, not just its historic character, but its individuality; so that it doesn’t disappear into the anonymity of a mere clone town, like so many in this country.
The document was published in August 2008, so it is more than probable that things have moved on since then and that my comments are considerably ‘behind the fair’. There appears to be nothing more recent, on Bridge Street, on the council’s website though, and it would be interesting to start a discussion on the difficulties of development within an historic town, based on the points within the Masterplan document.