WORK is now officially underway on Warrington’s brand new £10m bus depot, following a groundbreaking ceremony, paving the way to the introduction of one of the UK’s largest fleets of all-electric buses.
Funded by Warrington Borough Council, the Government’s Town Deal Fund and Getting Building Fund – the depot forms an important part of Warrington’s plans to bring major investment into the town’s bus service.
Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Maureen Creaghan, joined council members, officers and partners at the site today (Tuesday, Feb 8) for the official groundbreaking ceremony. Also in attendance was Warrington’s Own Buses’ longest-serving employee, Phil Russell, who will soon complete half a century with the company, having joined in 1973.
The event also gave guests the opportunity to get a glimpse into Warrington’s future by getting on board a demonstrator electric bus.
Due for completion by the end of this year, the new bus depot, on Dallam Lane, will have the capability to support an all-electric fleet of buses. Next year, it will be fitted out to include chargers for Warrington’s new electric bus fleet, due for roll out towards the end of 2023.
The town’s electric bus fleet is being supported by £21.5m from the Department of Transport’s ZEBRA fund. The funding will enable the replacement of Warrington’s Own Buses’ entire fleet of diesel buses – which cover 85% of the bus mileage in the borough – with 120 new electric buses, giving Warrington one of the biggest all-electric bus fleets in the country.
The council’s commitment to green energy will also see the new buses charged by green electricity, including from the council’s solar farm in Cirencester.
The all-electric bus depot and fleet are supporting the Council’s commitment, through its Local Transport Plan (LTP4), and climate emergency declaration, to provide cleaner, greener and more sustainable travel.
The new depot is utilising already acquired and council-owned land in the town centre. It will see the relocation of Warrington’s Own Buses Depot from its current site to the purpose-built new depot on Dallam Lane.
As well as supporting the plans to bring major investment into the town’s bus service, the project will allow the council to release land at the current bus depot site, which has the potential to deliver 600 new homes on Wilderspool Causeway, supporting the regeneration proposals for the Southern Gateway, as set out the Warrington Means Business strategy.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for transportation, highways and public realm, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “I’m delighted that work is underway on our stunning new bus depot, ushering in a new era for bus travel in Warrington.
“It’s exciting that this new, purpose-built, cutting-edge facility will be able to accommodate an all-electric bus fleet – which is a key ambition for us on our transformational transport journey. The introduction of our electric fleet, charged by renewable energy, next year will bring massive benefits, helping to decarbonise Warrington’s transport system, as we works towards a zero-carbon future.”
“The start of construction on our new depot is a huge step forward for our ambitious Town Deal plans and our vision to drive forward sustainable transport in Warrington. It will support our work to improve air quality and tackle the climate emergency, providing the foundation for more environmentally friendly, modern and attractive bus services for local people.”
Managing Director of Warrington’s Own Buses, Ben Wakerley, added: “I’m delighted that construction work is starting on our new bus depot. It is a truly transformative project for bus services in our town.
“Not only is our new depot in a much better location for our buses to access, but it will also have the capability to support our all-electric bus fleet – which is really exciting for Warrington. It’s an important part of our ongoing work to deliver cleaner, greener transport across our town and provide a bus service which is fit for the future.
“I’m delighted to see the continued investment in Warrington’s bus service, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this fantastic facility taking shape in the coming months.”