Back in 1993 I was told that it may not be a big town, but in the future Ellesmere Port will be the place to live in Cheshire. The person who told me this could not reveal said they could not reveal any more information than that as it was classified or words to that effect. Let me take you back to 1990. Near to the M53 motorway lies a power plant named 'Shell', in it's shadow lies miles of open ground. The only thing in site is the edge of a housing estate and a high school falling in influence. By 1992 a Sainsburys had been built on some of the land, with ample parking facilities it drew in the numbers. Yet the land around was unused, unsightly, and going cheap. Further growth followed. A office complex, a high class sports club, some shops, some more shops, and for good measures a few more shops. Pubs went up, by the late 1990's there was hardly any unused land, and approaching 150 new shops, creating around 2000 jobs for a small Cheshire town. This mass development and financial input into the area may be sen as good, yet the effect it had on the Town Centre was catastrophic. Since then there has been several shop closures and the area of influence in the town has gradually shrunk. Apart from the Port Arcades and a few streets around it there is nothing. The Local Council seem hell bent on killing the town that they are supposed to help. With the ample free parking available at Cheshire Oaks, or the higher range of services on offer in nearby Chester and Liverpool, the one thing that could be said to the major benefit of staying in Ellesmere Port was that it had free parking. A town with a population around 90,000 also gave 2,000 free car parking spaces - how many oher towns can claim something like that. It is feared that this will also hit the market traders, not just the retailers. The market is present 6 days a week (I think) in one form or another - be it the 'Market' or the 'Flea Mark et' (second hand goods). These are mainly locals who are not wealthy people, who need their stall to provide for them and their families, maybe even young families - a ever growing group in the town it would appear. Aside from retail matters there are a few tourist attractions. The Blue Planet Aquarium is another one of he developments that are to be found by the M53. This may seem excellent in the way of transport, but believe me, it is hell trying to get anywhere near the place on Sunday mornings. The Aqaurium is open 7 days a week and was opened about 2 years ago by the Queen (no relevance, just threw it in). The Boat museum is also popular with tourists and locals alike. This is in essence the embryo of the town. For those that do not know - and I expect it to be a high number of you, Ellesmere Port is so named as it was a Port of the Shropshire town Ellesmere. Located right on the River Mersey the trade prospects for shipping too and from the area was ideal and the town grew from their on. And due to the changing nature of the world we live in this now happens at the docks - whether the trade still comes from Ellesmere I can not tell you. The area where the boats used to dock has now been turned into a museum giving people the chance to see the past for them selves. And if you do go there, rumour has it that it is haunted - by more than one ghost! Whooooooooo! Transport is adequate. I can not fault the timing and regularity of bus services, but the price is sheer extortion. If I wish to go to Chester I can pay £2.65 return from near my house, if I was in Ellesmere Port town centre (which is nearer to Chester) I would have to pay £3.80. The reason is that the two services are operated by different companies, and yes you guessed it, the second company operates most routes in the town - marvellous! And that company is Crossville - BOOOOO HISSSS! As well as the commercial growth that has been seen in certain areas of the town, residential development has been huge. In the last 10 years I would guess that around 10 new hosing estates have been built. With the average price of these houses being about £40,000 higher than the true average of all houses it can only serve to benefit the area by showing that it is slowly getting more wealthy. Yet there is the danger of saturation, a proposed plan to build 800 detached houses on a piece of land that should not hold that many. This is also shown in the events from the recent floods. The house I live in is 30 years old, between 100 and 400 yards away is one of the new estates. They retailed at £140,000 just 12 months ago, many received $60,000 worth of damage. Our house? No problems. The reason? Drainage was inadequate due to the cramming of houses. Ellesmere Port has ample land available for building houses on, there is no need to cram houses in for greed. Well what else is there for a visitor? Food? Right then. If you are going to the Cheshire Oaks area and fancy a good old chip shop meal on the way home there is only one place to go. Follow the mass of roundabouts towards the town centre (sign posted). After the roundabout near the Health Club you will need to keep driving until you get to the second left (Underwood Drive). Take this turn and further up there, about 500 yards, there is a small shopping precinct set back from the road. Park View fish bar is here. The price of the food is very reasonable (80p for chips and a small sausage - make sure you ask for a small sausage dinner without any peas or gravy, otherwise £1 is the price you pay). The Chippy offers a wide range of meals, and its blend of English and Chinese staff mean they have both types of meals down to a fine art, and the prices re still at a fine are too. Yes there are the usual fast food outlets available - 3 McDonalds, 2 KFC's, 1 Pizza Hut, 1 Burger King. You will be able to find these located at the Cheshire Oaks (yes I am aware you are getting bored reading those words, but I am getting bored typing them too so we are eevn in that respect). But why try the international chains when you can sample the local cuissuine? An activity that will also help the local economy too. Unforetunately in the way of pubs most are either places you don't go with your family - i.e. a boozer, or the type of place that has 'Charlie Chalk Fun Factories' or Sydney Brewster typr thins. So there is my humble little corner of the world described to you in 1210 words.