What’s Going On in Bridge Street? – Warrington Borough Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order

It’s taken me quite a long time to unravel the 148 pages of Warrington Borough Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order for development on Bridge Street, but what it appears to boil down to is the following:

The Council is calling on its powers under Section 226 (1) (a) and Section 226 (3) (a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and Section 13 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Section 226 (1) (a) gives rights to a local authority, on being authorised to do so by the Secretary of State, to compulsorily purchase any land in their area if the LA thinks that by doing so it will make easier the carrying out of ‘development, redevelopment or improvement on or in relation to the land’.

Section 226 (3) (a) gives rights to a local authority, on being authorised to do so by the Secretary of State, to compulsorily purchase any land adjoining the land purchased under Section 226 (1) which is required for carrying out works which will make development or use of the land purchased under Section 226 (1) easier.

Section 13 enables the LA, on being authorised by a Minister of the Crown, to acquire ‘new rights’ that they themselves specify, over the land compulsorily purchased.

(My italics.)

So. The CPO describes 11 rights that the Council wishes to acquire for the following purposes:

a) Demolition of 1) the existing (1970s) Market Hall; 2) Crown Chambers (on left hand corner of Academy Way, behind Bridge Street); and 3) a ‘small number’ of properties on Bridge Street itself (unspecified);

b) Site clearance and remedial works (of what/to what not specified)

c) Development of cinema with ground floor restaurants and cafes; surface car park (size/spaces not specified); large retail unit as temporary Market Hall; ‘extensive’ areas of public realm located in eastern point of site to south of Horrocks Lane;

d) Development of permanent indoor Market Hall; new Council Office building; a ‘number’ of commercial units (unspecified); further areas of public realm to include pedestrianised streets linking a new ‘public square’ with Bridge Street/Academy Street/Buttermarket Street;

e) Refurbishing current Market multi-storey car park on Academy Way or demolition and replacement with new facility of ‘at least’ 8 floors (current number of 4 is on a height with Bridge Street roof line, so this would quite literally tower over the buildings there) with 1150 car parking spaces (which one do you think they’ll go for??);

f) Associated highway works.

(There is no mention of the foodstore, hotel or apartments described in the Masterplan.)

The powers under Section 226 (1) (a) must not be exercised unless the LA thinks the development/re-development/improvement will contribute to the achievement of the economic/social/environmental well-being of their area. The Council includes a statement saying they think it will.

The buildings and other space to which the CPO applies are (starting at the top of Bridge Street and working down):

25-29 Bridge Street – Hancock and Wood
Rights to include demolition/construction;

31 Bridge Street
Rights to include demolition/construction;

33 Bridge Street
Interests in first floor and 1 sq m of land to south west up to first floor level;

1-3 Dolmans Lane
Interests in first floor, space up to first floor level and 2 sq m of land up to first floor level;

Dolmans Lane
Interests in whole width of Dolmans Lane and 16 sq m of land to north;

37 Bridge Street
Interests in building and part width of Bridge Street;

39-45 Bridge Street
Rights to include demolition/construction for electricity substation in basement;

47 Bridge Street
Interests in building;

49 Bridge Street
Interests in building;

51-55 Bridge Street
Rights to include demolition/construction. Interests in basement;

61 Bridge Street – Newsagents
Rights to include demolition/construction;

63 Bridge Street
Rights to include demolition/construction;

Hart’s Place
Rights to include demolition/construction of first floor over passageway and all rights to service yard by 51-59, 61 and 63 Bridge Street.
Interests in electricity substation to south of Market Hall and Hart’s Place;

1 Harts Place
Rights to include demolition/construction;

2 Hart’s Place
Interests in basement ;

65 Bridge Street – The Lion/Reflex nightclub
Rights to include demolition/construction of building, service yard and land behind steps up to New Market Walk up to first floor level;

67 Bridge Street
Rights 2 and 10 only (does not include demolition/construction) over building and land to rear;

69 Bridge Street
Rights 2 – 10 only (does not include demolition/construction) over building itself and land to rear to first floor level;

Ship Yard
Rights to include demolition/construction.
Interests in basement and service yard from Warrington Market Hall to Ship Yard;

71 Bridge Street
Rights to include demolition/construction of building and land to rear;

73 Bridge Street – Abba Cabs
Rights to include demolition/construction of building and land to rear;

Crown Chambers
Interests at ground and first floor level;

(All the above fall under the Bridge Street Conservation Area which has, supposedly, protected status.)

Academy Way
Interests in pavement and highway, bus shelters and advertising hoardings;

Union Street (behind very top end of Bridge Street and parallel with it)
Rights to include demolition/construction of part width and 1 sq m to south west;

4-6 Union Square
Interests in building;

New Market Walk (the raised walkway at first floor level, behind and parallel to Bridge Street)
Interests and all rights of access;

Market Hall
Interests;

Multi-storey car park
Interests;

Academy Street
Interests in car park.

There are also some interesting restrictive covenants on several of the buildings, mostly about the selling of alcohol, but these are numerous enough to merit another post.

If you would like to contact the Secretary of State and point out that all this is going on in a Conservation Area, you can do so here.

(Photographs of Bridge Street at the website of local historian Mr H. Wells – scroll down past Church Street.)

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