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Chair appointed for Newton-le-Willows Town Board

A new board focused on delivering investment in Newton-le-Willows has taken a step forward with the appointment of its chair.

St Helens Borough Council Chief Executive Kath O'Dwyer, Council Leader Cllr Anthony Burns, Newton-le-Willows Town Board Chair Chris Hickey, Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth and Regeneration and Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cab

Article date: May 23 2024

Chris Hickey will lead the Newton-le-Willows Town Board, which will be created with a mixture of partners from both the public and private sector, who will lead the task of drawing up plans to support economic growth in the Newton-le-Willows area. 

Earlier this year the Government announced that Newton-le-Willows would be eligible for up to £20million in funding as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns. The next steps will see the Newton-le-Willows Town Board draw up a Long-Term Plan for how that money could be invested in the area. 

Chris Hickey is the Managing Director and co-founder of Mercury Hampton, which was formed six years ago and has made his hometown Newton-le-Willows as its base. A former Cowley Sixth Form and St Helens College student, Chris has gone on to be a pioneer in innovation and is passionate about creating a culture that will help people succeed. He has created jobs for the community and Mercury Hampton now has offices around the world. 

Chris will now work with council officers and Conor McGinn MP for St Helens North, following guidance by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, to recruit the wider town board. 

Councillor Anthony Burns, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: "We're delighted to have someone of Chris' standing take up the role of our first chair of the Newton-le-Willows Town Board. This fund is the latest in a line of successful funding bids we have made to Government, having already secured the likes of Town Deal and Levelling Up funding to support our wider transformation plans for the borough. We look forward to working together with the board and the residents of the area on building a brighter future." 

St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet approved the creation of the board at its meeting on Wednesday, and the terms of reference for the group going forward including accepting £250,000 in capacity funding to support the creation of plans for the area. 

Chris Hickey said: "I'm honoured to have been chosen as the inaugural Newton-le-Willows Town Board chair and look forward to working with people who are just as passionate as I am about Newton-le-Willows. There is already a whole host of great assets and attributes for the area and this fund will help to unlock further investment and opportunities to make it an even better place to live, visit and work. The hard work starts now for us as we look to transform Newton-le-Willows for the future." 

Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth and Regeneration, added: "With the creation of the board now moving forward our focus will be on working on a 10-year vision for the area and with that a three-year investment plan looking at how the £20 million could be invested in Newton-le-Willows, which we will submit to Government later this year. Chris will initially lead the board as it goes through its process of set up, drawing on the expertise of key partners across the area, focusing on how we can make the most of the opportunities that a fund like this could have for Newton-le-Willows. This funding is thanks to the hard work of St Helens North MP Conor McGinn and local councillors in making the case for the area."