The borough is to be redrawn over the next two decades, including a potential £200m town centre mixed-use scheme, under a partnership between the council and English Cities Fund.
The fund, a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England, has teamed up with St Helens Council to devise a masterplan that would earmark several sites across the borough for redevelopment.
Early work would include a potential £200m commercial and leisure investment to rejuvenate St Helens town centre. The project could include new homes, revitalised retail spaces, offices and hotel accommodation, according to a statement from the council. Earlestown town centre would also be regenerated under the proposals.
The parties intend to work together over the next six months to draw up a masterplan that would go to St Helens cabinet for approval in the autumn.
No formal joint venture agreement has been signed between the council and English Cities Fund, and the total amount to be invested by each party is not yet known.
As part of the work, the cabinet is expected to consider a report in the summer that sets out the implications of the partnership with English Cities Fund on the preparation of the draft Local Plan.
Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council, said: “When I became leader of the council last May, one of my main aims was to push forward regeneration in our borough, with our town centres in St Helens and Earlestown an absolute priority.
“This deal [with English Cities Fund] would enable that to happen, and it would see our borough become the envy of towns and many cities across the country – not simply producing new buildings but transforming communities into exciting, vibrant places that are fit for the future.
“Importantly, the nature of the partnership would allow regeneration opportunities to be explored right across the borough. Because of that, it would be irresponsible to submit a Local Plan for inspection before properly evaluating the full potential of this deal.
“We will now be working with ECF to develop detailed masterplans for both town centres, and potential opportunities across the borough. This is an extremely exciting time for St Helens.”
Phil Mayall, regional director at The English Cities Fund, added: “We’re at the start of our journey with the council, however, they share our progressive vision for creating innovative spaces and places to benefit the community, by bringing together both the borough’s rich heritage and their aspirations for the future.”