TRANSPORT in Northwich will be transformed when the Northwich Nipper comes to town.

A free shuttle bus service will link the railway station with the town centre and bus station when the scheme is piloted next month.

It will begin its six-week trial on September 20, running every weekday from 8.30am to 4pm continuously.

The Northwich Nipper shuttle bus pilot is one of the first projects initiated by the new Regenerate Northwich partnership and is being funded by Northern Rail, Northwich Town Council and the Weaver Valley Partnership Board.

Organisers also plan for it to provide a free drop off and pick up service at all of Northwich’s major supermarkets.

Mike Cooksley, chairman of Regenerate Northwich, said: “When the partners came together to form the partnership our intention was to get things done and make a difference in the town.

“This is the first step to doing exactly that – hopefully getting Northwich back on its feet and to be followed by a number of further initiatives and projects that will kick start the town’s regeneration.

“This initiative demonstrates, even at a time of financial constraint and difficulties, what can be done with the support of local organisations, local people and businesses working together.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone concerned. Not only is there a direct benefit to the town’s businesses but a real tangible benefit to commuters, visitors, shoppers and local communities.

“Hopefully it will assist in tackling the problem of congestion and issues around the environment by providing a quick, convenient and free public transport service.”

Town councillor Arthur Neil said: “Regenerate Northwich was formed in response to Northwich Town Council's community engagement initiative and is the council's partner for working with the local business community. The Nipper is a great example of multi-agency working.

“The town council lit the touch paper with its community engagement committee and now we have what should be a shot in the arm for the town supported by public, private and voluntary sectors.”

Mike Barker, client and stakeholder manager for Northern Rail, said: “We are committed to providing sustainable transport opportunities, not only through our rail services but also in helping our passengers with their journeys to and from the station.”

Geoff Hope-Terry, chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership Board, said: “This is a wonderful example of the positive benefits that effective partnership working can create and we are very pleased to support this pilot.”