AFTER years of cuts, underinvestment and a lack of development opportunities, a number of ambitious plans have been unveiled to transform the face of Runcorn.

These images show how Runcorn could look in the 20 years.

At the heart of plans to give Runcorn the ‘wow’ factor is the development of a Station Quarter.

The idea behind this ambitious plan is to provide a colourful and vibrant gateway into the Liverpool City region through Runcorn, making it ‘memorable for the right reasons'.

Phase one will see the Silver Jubilee Bridge link road and infrastructure demolished  so that arriving into Runcorn will no longer be ‘grey and dull'.

Instead of seeing concrete infrastructure when they arrive at Runcorn station,  commuters and visitors will be greeted with open green space and views of the town’s landmarks.

The link road is to be replaced by a junction linking the station, town centre, Silver Jubilee Bridge, expressway and Greenway Road, with work due to be completed by early 2020.

A HS2 Hub ‘ fit for purpose’  – featuring shops and hotels 

Planning officers are hopeful that once the roads are demolished under the scheme, the freed up space can be ear marked for major retail and commercial developments.

Plans for the Station Quarter include developing a HS2 hub ‘fit for purpose’ – featuring shops, cafes and even hotels.

With HS2 trains set to stop at Liverpool Lime Street and Runcorn from the high speed line at Crewe, it is anticipated that passenger numbers to Runcorn will increase substantially.

A planning document called Runcorn Vision says  that to meet this demand, the  station is in need of a 'high quality arrival and departure point, with excellent station facilities, including the potential for ancillary retail, eateries and spaces to enjoy whilst waiting'.

Colourful visuals within in the document suggest planning bosses are looking to modern  European cities  for inspiration on how this will look.

A retail boost  for the ‘Old Town’  – including waterside apartments 

The decline of the High Street in Runcorn’s Old Town has been a pressing issue for locals, who have complained about the current offering.

Under the Station Quarter and Runcorn Vision plans, this area is set to get a 'retail boost' with  opportunities for restaurant and cafes identified at the public square by the Brindley Theatre.

A map of a ‘future’ for Runcorn’s Old Town also highlights potential for new town centre developments at the empty Crossville site, better connectivity between streets, apartments on the  canal waterfront and an “enhanced public realm’ on key streets.

Healthy New Town 

Another major plan set to transform the face of Runcorn is Halton ‘Healthy New Town’ – a five to 10 year NHS backed regeneration project.

The plans will see a major overhaul of the Halton Lea area, including demolishing 'eyesore, derelict buildings' in the neighbourhood and designing a colourful ‘Halton Square’ hub for walking and socialising.

The proposals are in the early stages, but could see the creation of a public obstacle course, pavements marked with sprint tracks, news flats and housing with free bikes provided by developers, and downloadable apps that reward walking with discounts at shops.

Town Hall Park – £1.4m facelift 

Halton Borough Council has recently unveiled a master plan for a major £1.4m revamp of Town Park in Runcorn.

A visitor centre, BMX track, café and ‘adventure hub’ are part of the plans to breathe new life into the area and boost tourism.

An executive board meeting report said the project is expected to create job opportunities, provide an education resource, boost access to leisure facilities and encourage better physical and mental wellbeing via improvements in pedestrian, cycling and equestrian routes.