Event Summary

Place on Tour: St Helens

Development opportunities across the borough of St Helens are beginning to stoke up real interest.

To harness this tangible momentum, St Helens Council teamed up with Place North West to showcase the area’s investment potential to investors and other interested parties.

Developers, architects, and planners queued up for a spot on an executive coach ride and walking tour taking in sites across Earlestown, St Helens, and Newton-le-Willows.

See full gallery at the bottom of this story

Place StHelens

Where are the prime development sites in St Helens? The council set about showing developers and investors where they should be looking to do business. Credit: PNW

Guests were shown sites that will be coming to market, from brownfield land earmarked for mixed-use developments to historic buildings being repurposed, and also given a tour of the recently opened Glass Futures factory.

The council has teamed up with ECF, the public-private partnership between regen and investment experts Homes England, L&G, and Muse, to revive Earlestown and St Helens town centres over the next 20 years.

Already the council has invested £69m into the first phase of a £200m masterplan to transform St Helens town centre. This area is within easy reach of, and has great transport links to, both Liverpool and Manchester.

Lisa Harris, the council’s executive director of place services, said: “Great projects will always find the money.

“St Helens has something for everyone in the business ecosystem. We will help you and support you along the way.”

There was a consensus among those on the tour that the council’s willingness to engage and work with partners makes the borough an attractive prospect.

Rob Haslam, Harworth Group’s regional head of planning, was one of those who joined the investment tour. He said: “The Place tour of St Helens was not only a great opportunity to see and hear about key developments taking place, but provided a fantastic access to elected members, leading officers, and key decision makers.

“It was a chance to hear and understand their priorities in the borough alongside an opportunity to discuss our future development plans with them.”

Audrey Gaffney, growth manager at Cobalt Housing, said: “We’re interested in resi, but you need that connectivity, shops and amenities, so it’s good to see that.”

Paul Westhead, development director at One Heritage added: “It was really, really good. They (St Helens Council) actually want to do things. They’re passionate about it, it’s lovely to see.”

St Helens C PNW

Sites visited on the tour were a mix of residential and industrial. Credit: PNW


Here is a summary of the tour:

Earlestown Station

The tour began in Earlestown where levelling up funding is being used to improve access and the public realm around the station as part of a regeneration scheme.

Historic buildings at the station are to be brought back into use as a community café.

Earlestown Market Square

Improvements to the public realm stretching from Market Street to Market Square and the town hall are in the works here.

The aim is to improve connectivity and the visual appearance, while marking market day in the square the highlight of a vibrant public space.

Market Square is being repurposed with new seating and a focus on heritage. The market is 800 years old and the plan is for the square to be in use seven days a week.

Earlestown Town Hall

The grade two-listed town hall has been vacant since 2007 but has had an external refurb, with levelling up funds earmarked for internal refurbishment to bring the building back into use.

Commercial office space is planned for the ground floor, with extensions to the rear.

The Beatles performed on the first floor of the building in 1962, and this is to become a theatre space.

Other development opportunities in Earlstown include the 21,000 sq ft former Wilko store, vacant since last year, which is marketed with Savills, and the Newton-le-Willows police station, to be demolished to make way for a community hub.

Cowley Hill

The council is working with BXB Land Solutions towards 1,100 homes, a hotel, a nursery, a gym, and retail units to be delivered on the brownfield St Helens site. Torus is on the first phase of the project, with £10m set aside to develop a link road. A £7m power station also forms part of the scheme.

Once planning approval has been secured, construction is scheduled to start in the autumn or winter this year.

Gamble Building

Town Deal funding is being used as the council works with the YMCA on a scheme which is set for completion in March 2026.

There will be two floors of flex space, and the council is open to ideas and interest from investors for the top two floors. Each floor is around 10,700 sq ft.

Investment of £15m is being sought for the improvement programme on a St Helens building which has been closed since 2017.

Project Halo

Part of the LCR Life Science Investment Zone, the council is working with Network Space on a planning application for a 100,000 sq ft development at the five-acre site to be submitted later this year.

Pre-let occupiers are being sought with a view to taking up the space from April 2026.

Watson Street Works

A former Pilkinton site and included in the LCR Life Science Investment Zone, this 33-acre mixed-use single ownership development land has an emerging masterplan for 600 to 700 homes, as well as commercial, R&D, and industrial floorspace.

Moss Nook

A large brownfield site near the centre of St Helens, it has an industrial and mining past.

Harworth Group’s regeneration specialists have unlocked the first residential plot for Taylor Wimpey to develop 258 homes, and the 95-acre site has consent for 900 homes in total to be delivered in phases alongside other infrastructure.

Bold Forest Garden Village

Green Belt land released for residential development, the site measures more than 325 acres and is the largest housing allocation in the LCR. A masterplan is currently being worked up.

Liverpool City Region Freeport – Parkside East

A prime strategic development multi-modal site with upwards of 300 acres, it is included in the St Helens local plan.

Tritax Symmetry is bringing forward an SRFI project and 2.5m sq ft development having bought 220 acres last year.

Harworth Group also has the freehold for 50 acres, with floorspace for four units ranging from 84,000 to 320,000 sq ft industrial, storage, and distribution use.

Parkside West

Parkside Regeneration, a joint venture between Langtree and the council, is regenerating the former colliery site where the tour was brought to a close.

The site offers up to 2.6m sq ft of industrial, storage, and distribution use.

Learn more about what is going on in St Helens town centre and Earlestown by going to sthelenstowncentre.co.uk and earlestown.co.uk.

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What are you doing for garswood? except giving permission to build on green belt land. This to an area which has minimal facilities

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