We want our town centre to be child and family-friendly, safe and sustainable thriving places for local businesses, shoppers, visitors, and residents, and that’s what these plans will help to deliver.
We’ve launched this consultation to provide you with more information about Phase One of the development. Details about this phase can be found throughout the website.
Our proposals are being brought forward to benefit you – someone who lives, works or plays in St Helens. That’s why it’s important to us that we hear your views. What do you think of our plans? How can we make them even better? Our consultation is now live, so please get involved by visiting the ‘Have your say’ page and let us know your thoughts today!
The vision for the new town centre has been set out within a document called the Masterplan Development Framework. The document was created to guide and support the positive transformation of the town centre, ensuring that the development coming forward is of high quality, is sustainable and has the people of St Helens at its heart. It provides an aspirational vision for the town centre, with a focus on deliverable transformation. The Masterplan Development Framework was adopted by St Helens Borough Council in February 2022.
In September 2022, the council’s planning committee voted to grant planning permission for the first phase of the masterplan.
That planning application was a ‘hybrid’ application, which sought detailed permission for various demolition works to make way for the regeneration project. It also established the outline principles of the project, for a new hotel, bus station, offices, market, residential units, a park and community and learning space.
That hybrid application was the first of a number of planning applications that are needed to deliver Phase One of the town centre regeneration. We are now preparing to submit a second planning application, called a Reserved Matters application, to establish more detailed information about the design, landscaping, and layout of the first phase.
A further Reserved Matters planning application for the bus station component of the Phase One development will be submitted in due course.
Delivery of this ambitious town centre development will be phased to maximise benefits to the local area and help minimise disruption.
We are bringing forward an initial first phase of development, which will kickstart our vision for the future.
Our second planning application for Phase One will establish further details around the design including scale and appearance of buildings, landscaping, layout and access of the proposals.
Our vision for the bus station is part of the Phase One scope of works but will sit within a separate Reserved Matters planning application.
A new Market Hall will act as the hub of the town centre, creating a vibrant and energetic destination that boosts the local economy.
Visitors will find a selection of foods from around the world and homegrown. Artisan street food, independent coffee shops, fresh food, and retail space will provide local businesses with access to a larger and more diverse audience of customers.
A stage for performers will add to the vibrant atmosphere, where visitors will enjoy entertainment alongside quality food and drink.
The Hall’s stunning design will incorporate timber beams and there is potential to feature stained glassed windows. Green living walls will adorn the exterior of the building, adding to the area’s environmental richness.
Visitors to the Market Hall will be greeted by landscaped public areas and play areas, with ample amounts of seating to provide space for relaxing and socialising.
A rain garden, comprised of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers, will buffer Hall Street with a designated play space which could include oversized see-saws and trampolines.
During the day, the area’s floral displays will bring colour and greenery to the area, whilst at night there is potential for visually stunning lights to brighten the area with a vivid display of colour.
The development will incorporate design features to respect the local heritage, potentially including:
• Inscriptions of St Helens Heritage in stone along footpaths.
• Specially designed glass detailing into outdoor seating.
• Educational signage to provide information about St Helen’s history.
A new 150-bed hotel, across six storeys, will provide visitors to St Helens with a convenient, high-quality, and comfortable place to stay. For many visitors to our town, the hotel will provide a first and lasting impression of St Helen’s and define the quality of their time here. Creating a hotel that feels luxurious will be an important part of showcasing the very best that our town has to offer.
The hotel will include a breakfast bar / restaurant, workspace, and a range of accessible rooms.
Demand studies evidenced the need for an additional hotel in the town centre and when the concept was market tested there was a great deal of interest from global hotel brands and that very much remains the case. International businesses operating in St Helens tell us that there is a need for high quality accommodation for corporate visitors with a focus on including bespoke facilities for extended stays.
Sitting alongside the hotel will be new apartments and townhouses, that offer high-quality living in the heart of the town. These much-needed homes consist of eight townhouses and 56 apartments, providing a perfect blend of simplicity and elegance for modern living.
Decorative perforated panels will adorn the exterior of the apartments, designed to reflect the architectural heritage of the local area. Juliet and projecting balconies will fill apartments with natural light and help keep homes cool during the summer.
Ground floor retail (344sqm.) will contribute to creating a vibrant street scene. A new pedestrian street will be created next to the apartments to create a car-free and safe environment, which encourages residents to opt for active travel options over private car usage.
High-quality townhouses will offer a greater mix in housing choice to residents, ensuring there is variety in house type and size provided as part of the development.
A private courtyard, comprised of green space and planted with trees, shrubs and flowerbeds, will be located in the heart of the development. It will provide residents with a place to relax and socialise, fostering a strong sense of community. Decorative gates will run along the exterior of the courtyard to enhance security.
A publicly accessible St Helens-themed memorial garden will be designed to provide a space for reflection, peace, and an opportunity to reconnect with the rich natural environment.
A residents’ car park will sit adjacent to the courtyard. Residents’ parking will include accessible bays and electric vehicle charging points.
Five floors of high-quality Grade A office space, complete with a rooftop terrace and breakout social spaces.
The building will be designed to the highest sustainable standards, drawing upon innovative construction methods and materials to design sustainability into the fabric of the development.
Located within the heart of St Helens, staff will be within a short walk of an array of shops, restaurants, and retail.
The surrounding landscape will be designed to create a green and nature-rich environment, incorporating tree-lined streets planted with colourful flowerbeds. Outdoor seating will be carefully positioned to offer private breakout spaces for team collaboration, space for socialising or a place for rest. Local artists will be invited to provide displays that will add to the area’s vibrant atmosphere.
Pedestrian and cycle paths will be prioritised in the surrounding streets, whilst secure cycle and locker storage within the building will further encourage staff to opt for active travel options.
The exterior of the building will be designed to mirror the finely detailed stone craftsmanship of the Town Hall, incorporating similar design patterns and brick style.
Creating a vibrant, attractive, and people-first town centre starts with delivering a safe and accessible street scene.
This approach will be taken throughout Phase One of the Masterplan but will be especially prevalent along a renewed Hall Street.
The street, like much of the town centre, will be reconfigured to adopt a pedestrian-first approach to layout. This will include a narrowed single-lane road and a new cycle-lane to encourage slow-moving traffic, with pedestrian and cycle crossings installed at intermediate points along the street.
The road will be softened and landscaped with beautiful street planting, including trees and shrubs.
Our approach aims to create a town centre that is designed to meet the challenges of tomorrow, by delivering a clean, sustainable, and innovative development. Our plans will help the council achieve its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2040.
Key features include:
· Bickerstaffe Street will be pedestrianised to create a car-free and safe environment, which encourages residents to opt for active travel options over private car usage.
· Other surrounding streets will be redesigned to prioritise the movement of pedestrians and cyclists, improving accessibility between the town centre and key transport links, such as the railway and bus stations.
· Landscaped streets will incorporate trees, robust planting and shrubs, alongside green spaces for relaxation and socialising.
· Electric vehicle charging points available to local residents.
· Sustainable design features will be woven into the external façade of buildings, including potential for a living green wall on the new Market Hall.
Whilst modern and innovative in design, the regenerated public realm and state-of-the-art buildings will incorporate features that signpost and honour St Helens heritage.
Landscaped streets could include inscriptions of the town’s rich history, providing visitors with information points to learn more about the area’s heritage.
Intricate levels of decoration will be incorporated into the fabric of the streets, with ideas ranging from decorative fences to place-specific detailing.
Public art will be incorporated into landscaped streets, providing beautiful community seating, as well as display artwork that contributes to the area’s rich environment.
The town centre will be designed to create a family-friendly environment, with inclusive and accessible places for play, relaxation and socialising.
The space has been designed to provide a place for the community to come together, creating a vibrant, safe, and energetic atmosphere both day and night.
Key features include:
Residents will also enjoy access to a private internal courtyard, complete with climate-resilient planting and recreational opportunities.
Thank you for participating in our public consultation which ran from Monday 15 May 2023 – Monday 12 June 2023. We are now analysing the feedback we received before progressing with our planning application. If you have any questions, you can still contact the project team by using the details above.
We’re bringing forward this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the existing St Helens community, with the ambition of unlocking a plethora of social, environmental, and economic benefits that will change the borough for the better.
Our proposals are being brought forwards to benefit you and that’s why it’s important to us that we hear your views on what we are proposing.
What are you consulting on?
Our first ‘hybrid’ planning application, which the Council’s Planning Committee voted to approve in September 2022, established the principles of this exciting project.
We are now consulting on the more detailed aspects of the proposals pertaining to Phase One of the Masterplan. This includes the proposed design and layout of the buildings, as well as the landscaping.
How can I provide feedback?
Please ensure that all feedback reaches us before Monday 12th June 2023.
St Helens Borough Council and the English Cities Fund (ECF) are bringing forward ambitious plans to transform St Helens town centre with a once-in-a-lifetime regeneration project set to span the next 20 years. The vision for the new town centre has been set out and agreed upon within a document called the Masterplan Development Framework. This will guide and support the positive transformation of the town centre, ensuring that the development coming forward is of high quality, is sustainable and has the people of St Helens at its heart.
We are preparing to bring forward a detailed planning application for Phase One of the project. This includes:
Our vision for the bus station is part of the Phase One scope of works but will sit within a separate planning application.
Phase One of the town centre regeneration project will be delivered through two types of planning applications:
Hybrid Planning Application – The first planning application was submitted last year and the Council’s Planning Committee voted to grant planning permission in September 2022. It was comprised of two parts:
Outline – which establishes the principles of the project. This gives consent to deliver new homes, offices, and other proposals included as part of Phase One.
Full – This provides permission in detail to demolish buildings to make way for the project. These include the demolition of The Hardshaw Centre, St Mary’s Shopping Arcade, market and multi-storey car park, 39-41 Hall Street (Swan Hotel and Town Fryer Fish & Chips shop) to the immediate east of the bus station and located within the George Street conservation area, all buildings in the block of retail units bounded by the bus station to the east, Bickerstaffe Street to the south, Library Street to the west, and Corporation Street to the north. Among the buildings that will not be demolished is the old Marks and Spencer building, as well as a substation.
Reserved Matters Planning Application – This is the second planning application, that we are now preparing to bring forward. It will provide more detailed information on the design, landscaping, and layout of the principles already established in the first Hybrid planning application.
A key objective for the Masterplan Development Framework is sustainability. This approach is in line with the pledge that St Helens Borough Council has made; to meet zero carbon status by 2040 and address the impact that climate change is having on the borough.
It will be vital to deliver a town centre that is future-proofed to be able to respond to the climate emergency, deliver low-carbon buildings, increase biodiversity across the town centre and reduce waste through construction and operational activities.
The English Cities Fund as St Helens Borough Council’s partner has also agreed a Sustainable Development Strategy and prepared a robust Sustainable Development Brief which sets out the following key objectives that all new development and projects should meet.
Other development coming forward within St Helens town centre will also be encouraged to sign up to these sustainability principles, in addition to those set out within the emerging Local Plan.
NET ZERO CARBON– To be net zero carbon in construction and during operation.
HEALTH & WELLBEING – Delivering high-quality spaces where people can live, work and thrive while positively impacting their physical and mental health.
ENHANCING BIODIVERSITY – Delivering a net gain in biodiversity, whilst providing high-quality green spaces.
SOCIAL VALUE – The positive social, economic and environmental outcomes that we create for individuals, businesses and the government through our development activities.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY – Eliminating waste and improving resource efficiency through circularity.
WIDER SUSTAINABILITY – Capturing wider sustainability issues such as Water, Transport & Certification.
These principles are ingrained into the fabric of our approach to Phase One of the development.
The Masterplan Development Framework is a document that sets out the aspirations for St Helens town centre, whilst taking into account the opportunities and challenges that exist. It illustrates the first thoughts and ideas around the significant commercial and leisure investment that will completely transform the area for the benefit of local people.
The Masterplan Development Framework, which was adopted by St Helens Council in February 2022, will guide development across the Framework area over the next 20 years and will form a material consideration in the determination of all future planning applications across the area. Whilst it will not form part of the statutory Development Plan it has been prepared having had full regard to local and national planning policy.
The Council has entered into a 20-year partnership with English Cities Fund and alongside the agreed Masterplan Development Framework, has developed a proposal for an initial mixed-use development which will form Phase One of the transformation of St Helens town centre. For more information about the English Cities Fund please visit the ‘About Us’ page.
Demolition and infrastructure works relating to Phase One are expected to begin in late 2023. If approved, the construction of Phase One will begin in the Spring of 2024. It is envisaged that Phase One will be completed in 2025.
St Helens town centre has good connections to the strategic road network, an active bus station, as well as rail links to Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Phase One will include several sustainability features to support with improving accessibility. These include:
Yes. At present, whilst you can walk and cycle into the town centre, the network does not encourage this type of travel. As a result, there is an over-dominance of vehicular movements. We’re going to focus on increasing public spaces, widening footpaths, delivering more cycle paths and closing some roads to vehicles, such as Bickerstaffe Street, to make the town centre feel safer and more accessible.
The current car parking facilities are poor and largely associated with commercial and retail uses. A comprehensive review of car parking spaces is underway and will inform the provision of future car parking across the town centre. This review will include how we address the need for accessible parking and electric vehicle charging whilst recognising the longer-term ambition to encourage more active modes of transport such as cycling and walking.
At the heart of our proposals is a want to stimulate the local economy and create new jobs and opportunities for local people. The wider twon centre redevelopment plan represents an investment into the town centre worth circa £90 million and will create new FTE jobs both during and post-construction.
If planning permission is granted, we will hopefully finish construction by 2025. There will be opportunities for small businesses relating to this development, and we’d encourage you to keep an eye on our website to keep up to date with what’s happening.
Social value is a key part of the Sustainability Strategy, which will be used in all phases of this development. The Social Value strategy will set out a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) including:
In addition to the activity around the construction phase, the Social Value Strategy will also identify opportunities to engage with and support a variety of community groups, schools and youth groups through next year as the detailed design progresses ahead of the physical works on site.
People are at the heart of all we do, the partnership between St Helens Borough Council and the English Cities Fund are committed to engaging with local residents and stakeholders about our plans for the regeneration of St Helens town centre. Working together for a better borough, with people at the heart of everything we do is captured in the borough strategy and delivered through our St Helens Together approach which supports our vision for a better St Helens Borough. We strongly believe that only by working with the local community we can help to deliver what our area needs in the right way.
Whilst we already consulted on the first planning application for Phase One of the project, we are now providing a further round of community engagement before submitting a Reserved Matters planning application. (Please see Question 2).
We have included a route to submit feedback towards the end of this website on the ‘Have Your Say’ page.
All feedback received will be reviewed in detail and we will look to incorporate appropriate comments within the scheme. All feedback will also be collated in a Pre-Application Consultation Report which will be publicly available on the project website once the consultation ends.
St Helens Borough Council will undertake statutory consultation on the proposals. We will also continue to talk to interested parties about the plans as they progress to completion.
St Helens Borough Council has formed a 20-year partnership with The English Cities Fund (ECF) to bring forward a once-in-a-generation opportunity to regenerate St Helens Town Centre.
ECF is a partnership between Muse, Legal and General and Homes England. The partnership was formed in 2001 and has worked with councils, landowners and communities to create exceptional places across the UK. ECF brings together investment, regeneration expertise and long-term commitment to shape towns and cities for the better. You can learn more about St Helens Borough Council here and ECF here.
The nationwide place maker, Muse, has almost 40 years of experience creating mixed-use communities across the UK.
Its track record of leading complex, mixed-use regeneration gives it the experience to deliver successful places, with the emphasise on sustainability, community and quality.