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Article date - 06 March 2020
St Helens Council and The English Cities Fund are working together on proposals for a 20-year partnership that would see a variety of sites across the borough benefit from redevelopment.
Early work would include £200m commercial and leisure investment in St Helens Town Centre that could completely transform the centre. The investment could include new homes, revitalised retail spaces, top quality offices or hotel accommodation.
Heralding the exciting relationship with The English Cities Fund St Helens Council Leader Councillor David Baines said: “This is a hugely significant step forward for St Helens Borough. The English Cities Fund are the perfect partner for us, with their proven track record of transforming towns and cities, attracting investment, and unlocking potential.
“When I became Leader of the council last May, one of my main aims was to push forward regeneration in our borough, with our town centres in St Helens and Earlestown an absolute priority. This deal would enable that to happen, and it would see our borough become the envy of towns and many cities across the country. The work of ECF in places like London, Liverpool, Plymouth and Salford has seen the delivery of high quality, sustainable regeneration, not simply producing new buildings but transforming communities into exciting, vibrant places that are fit for the future, and this is what we will see in St Helens.
“Importantly, the nature of the partnership would allow regeneration opportunities to be explored right across the borough. Because of that, it would be irresponsible to submit a Local Plan for inspection before properly taking into account the potential of this deal, so we will be reviewing the current draft Local Plan in order to evaluate the full implications.
“We will now be working with ECF to develop detailed masterplans for both town centres, and potential opportunities across the borough. This is an extremely exciting time for St Helens."
The English Cities Fund is an innovative joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England. The joint venture partnership is currently delivering some of the most complex and most successful urban regeneration projects across the UK. Following its expansion in 2018, it continues to take on large, complex sites, to create inspiring new places.
Phil Mayall, Regional Director at The English Cities Fund, said: “It’s an exciting moment for everyone at the fund, as we take the first step with our partners at St Helens Council towards bringing both vibrancy and transformational change to the borough.
“We’re at the start of our journey with the Council. However, they share our progressive vision for creating innovative spaces and places to benefit the community, by bringing together both the borough’s rich heritage and their aspirations for the future. We’re excited for the weeks ahead as we progress discussions towards an agreement.”
Eamonn McManus, Chair of the St Helens Economy Board said: “This partnership between English Cities Fund and the council will be an absolute game-changer, injecting hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment in to our borough.
“It will turn a new page in the history of St Helens, and I believe over the next decade we will see our town centres transformed, with new homes springing up, retail space rejuvenated, offices and hotel accommodation developed and public and open spaces improved.
“Our plans for economic growth will focus on creating community wealth and opportunities for local people, bringing confidence back to the town, and inspiring ambition.”
St Helens Council and The English Cities Fund will be working together on proposals over the next six months, which will go to Cabinet for approval in the autumn. Cabinet will also consider in summer a report setting out the implications of the partnership on the submission draft of the Local Plan.