St Helens stadium decision due

Rachael Tinniswood

St Helens Rugby Club is just weeks away from finding out whether £100m plans to transform the town are to be approved – with an 18,000-capacity Saints ground and a 140,000 sq ft Tesco Extra store at its heart.

The application, which was submitted last June, proposes redeveloping the derelict 46-acre former United Glass on the edge of the town centre.

Tesco's current outlet, in Chalon Way, would be transformed into a complex of new retail outlets.

A separate plan would see Saints' Knowsley Road home redeveloped by house-builder Taylor Wimpey to provide family housing.

Bob Hepworth, director of Urban Regeneration and housing for St Helens council said: "We are now in a position where we are carrying out some final consultations which will enable the planning report to be fine-tuned and the i's dotted and the t's crossed."

Since plans were launched last June, planning officers have had to sift through 18 boxes containing more than 100 individual documents, as well as holding constant dialogue with the club and consulting statutory and non statutory bodies over the proposals.

If approved, work on the stadium and Tesco store would begin this year, with the new stadium seeing its first game in 2010.

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