Market Street view of reimagined St Helens town centre, ECF and St Helens Council, c Virtual Planit

The approval of the council's CPO powers will enable St Helens and ECF to move forward with the 20-year regeneration project. Credit: Virtual Planit

Inspector rules in favour of St Helens CPO

The demolition of The Swan pub off Corporation Street is a nearly done deal after the Planning Inspectorate sided with the local authority on its ability to use compulsory purchase powers to push through its regeneration plans.

St Helens Council and English Cities Fund have joined forces to deliver the regen scheme, which focuses on 24 acres in the town centre of St Helens. The project will see the razing of a series of buildings to make way for a market hall, 120-bedroom hotel, 64 homes, nearly 11,000 sq ft of retail and an improved and extended bus station.

The Swan Pub sits within the borders of the project and has been the focal point of objections to the council’s use of CPO powers.

Swan Pub proprietor Angela Hindley, her family, pub owner Punch Partnerships, and Merseytravel had objected to the CPO, which the council had approved in December. This led to a public inquiry with the Planning Inspectorate, which was held on 8 August.

By the time the inquiry rolled around, however, all of those opposing the project – with the exception of Punch Partnerships – had come to an agreement with the council and withdrawn their objections.

The inspector did not deliberate for long either, reaching a decision roughly two weeks after the inquiry was held.

Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council, welcomed the inspector’s decision.

“Everyone in the borough wants to see our town centres regenerated so that they are places we can all be proud of, and the council is committed to delivering this change with an ambitious once-in-a-lifetime plan,” he said. “We have the right partners on board and the determination to carry it through.”

“With the independent planning inspector’s confirmation that we may use compulsory purchase powers where agreements can’t be reached – which will always be our first priority – we can now move forward with confidence,” Baines said.

A spokesperson for ECF emphasised that the developer is still trying to negotiate an agreement with Punch Partnerships.

They also added that they were pleased with the progress made on the regeneration project thus far.

“We have outline planning permission and will now make a more detailed reserved matters application in September,” the spokesperson said. “The CPO hearing featured a strong representation from our regeneration partnership, and we are satisfied that the outcome allows us to progress.”

Jon Matthews Architects is the architect of the St Helens masterplan for ECF and the council. Planit-IE is the landscape architect and CBRE is leading the planning process.

The project team also includes M&E engineer Hilson Moran, civil and structural engineer Heyne Tillet Steel, surveyor Powers, sustainability consultant Cundall, highways engineer WSP, project manager Arcadis, cost consultant Faithful+Gould, and Design Fire Consultants.

Your Comments

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I see no mention of doctors or dentists .
Just money making .

By Graeme

If it makes this dying town centre a better place to in, then so be it.
I’ve drank in st.Helen’s for over 40 years and only once have I ever been in this pub, and there was less than 10 people in there.
I’m all for redevelopment so long as it’s sustainable

By Whooly back

Ugly buildings Won’t attract people to spend time in St Helens

By John Lynn

Great to see another of the Liverpool boroughs flying. Hope they follow Sefton’s lead in terms of how they specify and manage the new market – it’s made a huge difference to Southport and drawn in new footfall.

By Anonymous

This won’t increase footfall to the town. The local council helped kill its own town centre with all the retail parks it let through, which surround it.
Another building gone to pave the way for a carbon print of anywhere else in the UK. How unimaginative.

By Anonymous

To Anon. Please don’t refer to us as a Liverpool borough. You should know the North West well enough to know that every town has its own unique identity. St Helens is not and never will be part of Liverpool.

By Sintelliner

Not before time. The bus terminal has always been in the wrong place and too small

By Dennis

Shocking decision! They would have been much better to obtain a grant to refurbish the attractive pub and incorporate it into their scheme. I agree with the other comments, these ugly new buildings will not attract people to the town.

By Heritage Action

@ Sintelliner , St Helen’s is one of the boroughs within the Liverpool City Region, like Sefton, Knowsley,Wirral, Halton.

By Anonymous

Anonymous – Liverpool City Region is not the same as Liverpool. Sense of place matters to many people. It does not mean you have to dislike ‘the other’ place, but in this case St. Helens and Liverpool are two distinct places. I speak as some who has no axe to grind in that particular argument, but I do recognise the same issue with places being erroneously conflated as being part of the other city along the East Lancs Road.

By Unlevelled for balance

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