£69.2 million investment confirmed by St Helens Borough Council

15.09.23 4 min read by Ryan Devlin

The biggest ever single investment in St Helens town centre has been approved by St Helens Borough Council, which saw a £69.2 million package confirmed for phase 1A of the place-changing regeneration of the town, which is being delivered in partnership with our JV with Legal & General and Homes England, The English Cities Fund (ECF).

This once-in-a-generation investment will kickstart the regeneration of St Helens town centre, which will begin with the delivery of a stunning market hall flanked by a mixed-use area, a 120-bedroom globally-branded hotel, 64 new homes and 11,000 sq ft of modern retail space, as part of the initial phase.

The different elements will all be linked together by extensive improvements to public areas, alongside a new and extended bus station. The new buildings and spaces will collectively act as a catalyst for the radical transformation of the town centre, while at the same time improving the viability of future phases.

As the council is committed to its delivery, a pragmatic delivery solution has been found that divides the works into phase 1A and 1B.  Phase 1A includes the new market hall, homes, retail space, and bus station components, together with related and connecting public spaces. Phase 1B will create striking new office buildings and will see the former Marks and Spencer’s building refurbished.

Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council,said: “The investment demonstrates the absolute focus the council has on delivery against agreed priorities, listening to our communities and getting on with the job. What we have before us now is a long-awaited and much-needed town centre transformation, one that will act as a catalyst for wider investment and regeneration. We have consulted widely, and market tested the best ideas for our area – all the while taking great care to ensure that ‘St Helensness’ is retained in the look and feel of everything we deliver.

“From the outset of the partnership with The English Cities Fund, it was recognised that the deep-rooted challenges facing St Helens town centre would require significant investment from the council to enable the first phase to go ahead and we have planned for this reality. Given the inflationary pressure being experienced across the global economy, increased borrowing costs and rises in construction materials, along with increasing demand for council services, we have not lacked for challenges. Yet we are finally ready to go, and pending planning approval, will focus on delivering the improvements everyone in our community wants to see.”

Max Bentham, Development Director for ECF, said:

The scale of phase one will bring radical change for the better for the people of St Helens and help the town thrive again. We are delighted to be progressing and grateful for the input from the Council on a delivery strategy that helps mitigate the challenges posed by inflation, which are being felt everywhere.”

The next step will be for both ECF and the council to advance the detailed designs ahead of a reserved matters planning application in the Autumn.

The regeneration of the town centre is the centrepiece of the St Helens Town Investment Plan and is part of the council’s medium-term budget. Support is also being made available in the form of £21.49 million in grants from the UK Government and equity investment by ECF.

Aside from creating new buildings and spaces, which will be enjoyed by children and families for many years, the regeneration will deliver significant social value in direct support of the council’s recently adopted Inclusive Growth Strategy, with phase 1A and 1B creating up to 485 new jobs and generating £23.2 million Gross Value Added each year.

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