The transformation of St Helens town and district centres moves closer as talks to find a delivery partner take place and the council bids into the Future High Streets fund for St Helens and Earlestown.
St Helens Council has met with English Cities Fund about the council’s radical plan to create modern multi-functional town centres across the borough fit for the future. The English Cities Fund is a national regeneration fund that has delivered projects in Canning Town, Liverpool and Salford and has delivered regeneration projects valued at £1.6 billion in total.
As part of the redevelopment plans for the Borough the council is also bidding for a share of a £675 million pot of money available through the Future High Street Fund from Government. The council is submitting two bids for funds that could help with the transformative plans for St Helens and Earlestown town centres.
It comes after the Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett met with St Helens Council Leader Councillor Derek Long and council members to talk about Salford’s success through working with English Cities Fund and in attracting Government investment.
St Helens Council Leader Councillor Long said: “The transformation of St Helens and Earlestown centres and the wider borough is not just a vision but a project we will turn into a reality. Ongoing talks with English Cities Fund and the support of the likes of the Mayor of Salford show that we are serious about delivering what will be the biggest redevelopment our borough has ever seen.
“Listening to residents we know that they want to see immediate improvements closer to their homes too. So I’m delighted to say that we are also investing in our district areas. In November my Cabinet approved £2 million to be invested in our district centres and more than £3 million to be invested in our roads. This investment will make a real change to places like Earlestown, Haydock and Rainhill with further plans being put in place to invest right across our borough.”
The district investment programme will see £1.2 million invested in improving the market and overall shopping experience in Earlestown. More than £300,000 will also be invested in parking, road improvements and a heritage trail in Haydock while Rainhill will benefit from a further £400,000 in similar local improvements. These improvements will be made over the year ahead.
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “It was a pleasure to visit St Helens and hear the council’s ambitious plans for the borough.
“We are proud of our success in Salford and very happy to share our experiences of regeneration projects. We have worked closely with English Cities Fund on one of the UK’s largest development projects in two distinct areas, Chapel Street and New Bailey. The scheme has the capacity to provide £650 million investment and 11,000 new jobs.
Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Futures and Performance, said: “This is a critical week for our town and district centres. We are doing all we can to transform our borough but we cannot do this alone. We have been listening to traders and businesses through projects like our market review and we are now looking at a variety of options to boost the offer currently available. It’s not just us committed to the future as a number of national retailers have extended their leases in St Helens Town Centre and will continue to provide shoppers with valued brands on their doorstep.
“We will achieve our vision by working together and we ask that residents come on this exciting journey with us by continuing to support local businesses and use the facilities they value which will help us all to create a borough that meets the needs of everyone.”
Businesses are also on board through a new Town Centre Promotion Partnership which brings together organisations as a forum for developing St Helens Town Centre.
Mustafa Yousef, from Darkstar Laser, said: “We are delighted at Darkstar Laser to fully support St Helens Council with the Town Centre Promotion Partnership. This will enormously help in transforming the town centre by retaining existing business and promote St Helens as an East Merseyside centre for retail, leisure, art and business.”
It comes as St Helens Town Centre sees new investment such as the opening of Superbowl bowling alley next week and a commitment to improving CCTV networks to promote a safer environment.