COUNCIL chiefs are celebrating the official completion of the multi-million pound Runcorn on the Mersey regeneration project.
The project, which was launched by the Government in 1996, has vastly improved public services and quality of life in Halton - with a windfall of cash coming in from both the public and private sectors.
And to showcase the achievements of the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB), council bosses met at Runcorn Town Hall to discuss how the investment has directly affected the regeneration of the town centre.
Investment has already taken shape in the form of Halton Direct Link, the Brindley, and new bus station.
Although Runcorn on the Mersey was launched in 1996, it was Halton Part-nership that successfully put in the bid to Central Government, resulting in a massive £12.7m investment.
And since the SRB was finalised, an additional £40m has been attracted into the region through the public and private purse.
In Runcorn Old Town, wide-sweeping benefits created by SRB funding include the new link road, bus station and increased car parking spaces.
And in the town centre, the installation of CCTV cameras has helped crack down on crime and improve the safety of Halton's shoppers.
The programme to upgrade homes in the Dukesfield area is said to be progressing well, and education and training opportunities have improved with the development of the post-16 learning centre.
Tony McDermott, leader of Halton Borough Council and chairman of the Halton Partnership, said: 'The many successes of this programme have demonstrated the benefits that SRB funding can bring.
'Everyone should be able to see the benefits of Runcorn on the Mersey as they move about the town.
'We are also seeing similar success with the two other SRB projects, Real -ising the Benefits and Focus for Change.
Runcorn on the Mersey has enabled the following projects to be completed in the Old Town: Runcorn Train Station - new station buildings, waiting room, ticket office, extension of footbridge and new lifts; revamped car parks for better and safer parking. Streetscape - extensive improvements to Church Street and Regent Street; semi-pedestrianisation of Church Street and cobbling; unique designs used in the improvement of Regent Street. The Brindley - a focus for taking the arts into the community; welcoming bistro and bar giving attractive views from a prominent waterside location. Central Area Re-development - new bus station; supermarket incorporating shop units, replacement of old market with new stalls and new Halton Direct Link Dukesfield Housing - the demolition of 48 houses has allowed the building of new bungalows; more than 30 homes benefit from improvement grants; refurbishment of more than 60 Housing Association properties and traffic calming measures and landscaping scheme. Play Resource Centre - opens play schemes to children during school holidays. CCTV - extensive coverage designed to curb anti-social behaviour. Commercial Property Renewal Grants - designed to revamp derelict property. Bridgewater Canalside - new pontoons have created extra moorings for visiting and local boats Belevedere - 24 units providing good quality accommodation for homeless people. Mersey Road Extension and Promenade - created a pleasant walkway along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. Leiria Way - new road from Dares-bury Expressway to create better access into town from visitors.