St Helens Regen 1, ECF, P.St Helens Council
A 50,000 sq ft office and a 120-bedroom hotel feature in plans for St Helens. Credit: via Lexington

ECF fleshes out vision for future of St Helens  

Dan Whelan

The creation of grade A office space, delivery of town centre homes, and improving public realm feature within the 20-year regeneration strategies for St Helens and Earlstown. 

The local council published English Cities Fund’s draft visions for the towns yesterday and a six-week public consultation on the plans is to launch on 1 November. 

The proposals for St Helens town centre: 

  • Reducing the oversupply of shopping centres that over-dominate the built form and creating smaller modern retail properties 
  • Introducing a mix of new uses including food and drink, commercial, residential 
  • Improving and enhancing the night-time economy and broadening the overall leisure offer 
  • Establishing a quality town centre living offer. 
St Helens Regen 3, ECF, P.St Helens Council

A planning application for the first phase is expected early next year. Credit: via Lexington

The key opportunities in St Helens include: 

  • Building townhouses fronting Hall Street 
  • A new market hall occupying the corner of Church Street and Hall Street 
  • Demolition of the existing Hardshaw Shopping Centre on Bickerstaffe Street and creation of a new mixed-use development featuring 50,000 sq ft of offices and a 120-bedroom hotel 
  • A redesigned bus station 
  • The demolition of St Mary’s Shopping Centre to make way for residential development 
  • The creation of a town centre park on Chalon Way, which will be closed off to traffic. 

A planning application for phase one of the project, which includes the hotel and offices, is expected in early 2022. 

Subject to planning approval, phase one could complete in winter 2025. 

In Earlestown, the focus is on positively changing the perceptions of the town, creating an evening economy by boosting the town’s food and drink scene, diversifying the traditional retail offer, and delivering a more diverse range of homes. 

St Helens Regen 2, ECF, P.St Helens Council

The council and ECF signed a development agreement last year. Credit: via Lexington

The key opportunities in Earlstown include: 

  • Decluttering and enlivening Market Street and Market Square, described as  “the jewel in the crown” of Earlestown town centre 
  • Repurposing the vacant town hall 
  • Creation of a new police station and multi-model transport interchange 
  • Delivery of new homes.  

Land to the south of the train station off Sunbeam and Old Wargrave Road, and the current bus station site have been identified for potential redevelopment into housing. 

St Helens Council and development consortium English Cities Fund signed a 20-year development agreement late last year.

The plans for St Helens and Earlstown, which have been drawn up alongside Jon Mathews Architects, are the latest long-term development strategies to be progressed up by ECF.

Earlstown Regen 2, ECF, P.St Helens Council

The focus of Earlstown’s regeneration is on the town’s market square. Credit: via Lexington

ECF, a partnership between Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England, is also delivering regeneration projects in Salford, Plymouth and Wakefield. 

Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council, said: “The proposals will deliver once in a lifetime redevelopment at the heart of our towns. 

“We want our town centres to be child and family-friendly, safe and sustainable thriving places for local businesses, shoppers, visitors, and residents, and that’s what these plans will help to deliver.” 

Leon Guyett, development director at Muse, said: “We’re delighted to be working with St Helens Council on such an incredibly exciting and transformational set of proposals. 

“The English Cities Fund has a track record of delivering repurposed and revitalised town centres across the country, from Salford to Newham, and we look forward to bringing our expertise and knowledge to St Helens and Earlestown over the next twenty years.” 

Earlstown Regen, ECF, P.St Helens Council

Improvements to public realm feature heavily in both plans. Credit: via Lexington

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Looks good and lends itself to bring some life back into both areas. Still have the feeling though that St.Helens MBC are always a few steps behind both Warrington and Wigan in developing their own towns, but here’s hoping these schemes actually happen.

By Woolyback Engineer

Lets hope the JV puts its hand in its pocket first and everything doesnt have to be under-pinned by the council.

By oscar

Progress for st Helens would be moving out of Merseyside and back into Lancashire.

By Phildered