Earlestown , ECF St Helens, c Our Studio

The market square is the focal point for the interventions. Credit: Our Studio

Plans lodged for £30m Earlestown market transformation 

The town’s historic centrepeice is in for a comprehensive overhaul under proposals tabled by St Helens Council and its development partner ECF. 

The public/private partnership has submitted a planning application aimed at breathing new life into Earlestown. The £30m regeneration scheme features a new permanent market canopy inspired by the Sankey Viaduct.  

The canopy will provide sheltered trading space to futureproof Earlestown’s historic market and provide flexible space to host events all year round. 

The Market Square will also be transformed with upgrades to paving, installation of seating areas, and tree planting. 

The redevelopment of the market and square, designed by Jon Matthews Architects and Planit, will be followed by the refurbishment of Earlestown town hall. 

The building, which has already benefitted from an external restoration, will be reopened to the public with community meeting rooms, event space, flexible workspaces, and a new courtyard garden and café. Its main hall will be brought back to life as a performance and events space. 

Subject to planning approval, work could begin this summer. 

The plans are funded by a £20m grant from round two of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, with £8m match funding provided by St Helens Council. 

The scheme is being brought forward by ECF, the regeneration joint venture of developer Muse, Homes England, and Legal & General. ECF is also on board for the redevelopment of St Helens town centre. 

The submission of plans follows a public consultation at the end of 2023. 

The responses to the consultation demonstrated “high levels of support for each individual aspect of the proposals”, according to the council. 

This included 80% of people stating that they were in favour of the proposed market canopy and 84% being supportive of plans to refurbish and reopen the town hall. 

73% of respondents stated that they believed the plans would benefit the town and 68% said that they were likely to spend more time in Earlestown as a result.  

Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council, said: “The positive feedback received through the public consultation affirms that our local communities in and around Earlestown are keen for positive change to begin. 

“The stunning designs for Earlestown reflect our ambitions to invest in and improve our town centres and infrastructure across the Borough in a way that celebrates and builds on local character and qualities. 

He added: “In Earlestown, the proposals for a much more attractive, family-friendly and flexible Market Square and a fully restored and reopened Town Hall community hub, will help to deliver the diverse, vibrant town centre residents and local businesses deserve.”    

Tom Ivinson, development manager at ECF, said the proposals would deliver changes residents could be proud of. 

“Earlestown’s rich history, traditional Market Square and beautiful town hall are enviable assets for any modern market town,” he said.

“These proposals represent a huge opportunity to enhance the town’s infrastructure and appearance to provide a better environment for traders and shoppers alike, encouraging more people to visit and spend more time in Earlestown.”   

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The need to speed up starting market refurbishmentis a priority, market traders leaving for other towns as weather decides opening of some,some fridays only half of traders turn up so people go elsewere now to shop,and now Wilko gone not worth going into Earlestown,its a shame used to be nice place to shop.

By Anonymous

At last. When it’s all completed the people of Earlestown will feel properly valued and no longer last in the queue.

By Rod Mackenzie

The consultation was a sham. The market is designed to fail as a market and succed as a dwell space and community fairs put on by one of the politically affiliated charities in this town.
If the traders can’t park next to their cars, most have said they won’t bother and the ones that do will take up valuable parking.
Residents were not consulted. I live 300m away from that 100 sq metres of land that was given to us for the use of a market yet I was misinformed from very early on.

Don’t destroy our heritage.

By Andrew Watkinson

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