People and businesses in St Helens are asked for their views on a proposed multi-million pound transformation of the town centre. Tony McDonough reports
A multi-million pound regeneration plan for St Helens town centre is now out for public consultation.
St Helens Council, in partnership with English Cities Fund (ECF), tasked Jon Matthews Architects with creating a masterplan for the transformation of the area. People and businesses will be able to give their views at a number of events this month.
Proposals include a new market hall comprising 23 stalls, food and beverage outlets and a bar and performance area. There will also be a range of other amenities to encourage and cater for visitors through the daytime and evenings.
Outside the market hall will be space for play and child-focused street furniture. The market hall will be flanked by a mixed-use area set around a 150-bedroom hotel, 64 homes and 10,915 sq ft retail space and a 49,670 sq ft ‘sustainable’ office building.
Architects have drawn inspiration from St Helens’ past, with architectural glass, for instance, a key feature within the market mall.
Art installations that celebrate the town’s history, ingenuity, and individuality will also feature in recessed sections of the ground floor exterior wall of the hotel.
Sam Ainsley, a project architect at Jon Matthews, said: “There is a strong emphasis on radiating local character. For each of the buildings, we’ve looked at detail from existing buildings and distilled it.”
People are invited to have their say on the proposals in a series of consultation events taking place this month. Members of the project team, including the architects, will be on hand to talk through the plans and answer questions from the community.
The first events have been confirmed and others will be confirmed shortly, with details posted on St Helens’ council social media accounts and via the consultation website www.sthelenstowncentre.co.uk where people can view the plans and offer feedback.
All the events released so far will take place ar 51 Church Street in the town centre:
- Tuesday, May 23, 11am to 4pm
- Wednesday, May 24, 11am to 4pm
- Thursday May 25, 11am to 4pm
- Friday May 26, 10am to 3pm
- Saturday May 27, 11am to 4pm
The consultation will close Monday, June 12. Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council, said: “This is an extremely exciting time for our borough with major regeneration projects at various stages of development.
“These include new schools already delivered and Glass Futures nearing completion, to the Parkside redevelopment and much, much more.
“Our town centres in St Helens and Earlestown are key to our borough and of huge importance to local people.
“Their rejuvenation is critical to our borough’s future, and I am delighted to see our once in a lifetime plans for St Helens reach the next stage of the process.”
Earlestown has its own dedicated focus within the wider strategy. There is an initial focus on updating the town’s market square and town hall, a project boosted by the award of £20m last year from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.
St Helens Council is working on a 20-year regeneration plan for the area with the ECF – a national development partnership between Muse Places, Legal and General and Homes England.
Stuart Rogers, project director at ECF, added: “We’re looking forward to showcasing the thinking and detail that has gone into preparing for the next stage of this unique project.
“Everyone involved is committed to engaging with the community and setting the town on a path that will create a positive legacy to benefit people for generations to come.”