St Helens Council Announces Its Purchase Of Church Square Shopping Centre

St Helens Council has announced that it has exchanged contracts on the purchase of Church Square Shopping Centre at an agreed fee of £26.6m.

Owning the centre is seen as a key part of bringing forward new regeneration in the town given the council previously had control of just one per cent of the retail stock.

It will help to enable the delivery of plans outlined in ‘St Helens: Transforming our Town’ which was the vision document released on 14 August for consultation.

Council Leader, Barrie Grunewald said:  “We are committed to investing in our borough, in a prudent way, to both increase our income streams and to help bring forward our town centre regeneration plans.

“This investment has taken some time to come to fruition and has not been easy but I believe it is the right thing to do for the borough as a whole.

“Our vision for the town centre talked about us having only one per cent of the retail space in the town and that because of this, we were limited in terms of what we could do. By taking control of Church Square Shopping Centre we can now properly plan for new town centre development.

“I hope this action will make people realise just how serious we are about turning the town centre around, as doing nothing would equate to ongoing decline. Now is the time to act.”

How the town centre may look in the near future….

Responding to questions on how the purchase relates to the council having to cut its annual budget, St Helens Council’s Chief Executive, Mike Palin said:  “Our budget works on the basis that we have a set amount of revenue monies we can spend per year. This has reduced by over £70m since 2010 and we are required to reduce our annual spend by a further £20.6m by 2020 to balance the books.

“Separate from the amount we have per year for services we can borrow money to make investments where there is an income stream on a year on year basis to cover the cost of that investment.

“This purchase has been made on an investment basis whereby the cost of managing the asset and paying down the borrowing is less than the income anticipated. This means the investment has a positive impact as well as giving us the control required to bring forward regeneration plans for the
town centre as a whole.

“What we cannot do is borrow money to spend on services as they do not generate a revenue stream to pay-down the borrowing. We still have to cut £20.6m from our annual spend by 2020.”

With the purchase now complete the council will be writing to all current tenants making them aware of the ownership change and will be working with professional advisors on options for improving the centre.

The Council had attempted to purchase Church Square Shopping Centre when it came up for sale in 2013.  They were outbid by Mars Pension Fund, who purchased the shopping centre for a reported £30m from the previous owners ING.

Other relevant articles

Council Reveals Ambitious Plans For Town Centre Transformation

Luxor Boss Talks About Regeneration Plans For Town Centre

How St Helens Town Centre Could Look



  1. Please bring HMV back to the town. And make sure there is a huge variety of shops instead of a lot of charity, pound and betting shops. And also please make it free parking with more aviliable spaces with parking you could do it on top of the shops like The Hardshaw Centre

  2. This is fantastic news. We have to do something. As it stands it is one of the worst shopping centres in the country. The regeneration will make the town a more attractive place to live and work.

  3. Any plans to open up the roads again instead of diverting traffic round the outskirts of the town, I personally think this would help and attract more smaller businesses to the town and help ease congestion on the link way

  4. I agree with John as regarding the roads .. Bring back being able to pass through at the Town Hall to make your way out of town rather than being diverted through the back streets ,which really is not ideal , given the fact that residents park outside their houses and us drivers have to squeeze through small gaps and narrow streets. I’m sure the residents would welcome having peace restored to their streets shall the town centre traffic be re -diverted to leave the town via The Town Hall .

  5. We need more parking available..more attractive shops and open roads through the town hall and back of chalon way near weather spoons as at the moment town is a nightmare for cars getting into the town to shop


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