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First package of St Helens town centre regeneration work to begin

St Helens Borough Council and the English Cities Fund have announced the first package of works to deliver Phase One of the once-in-a-generation multi-million St Helens town centre regeneration initiative.

Sunset over St Helens Town Centre

Article date: 22 February 2024

  • Exploratory surveys to take place in and around the Hardshaw Shopping Centre
  • Chalon Way West selected as preferred location for temporary bus hub  

Exploratory surveys are set to take place in and around the Hardshaw Shopping Centre this week as the countdown to its demolition begins. This will include main contractor VINCI Building using a drilling rig to bore 10-metre-deep test holes at five separate locations around the outside of the centre. All works will be planned so that all major traffic routes and pedestrian walkways will be either maintained or suitably diverted.

The remaining occupants of the Hardshaw Centre will have vacated the building by Summer this year, after which the site will be closed off with protective hoardings and a strip-out process will take place before the building's demolition in Autumn 2024.

Meanwhile, following an extensive options assessment by partners and key stakeholders, Chalon Way West has been selected as the preferred location from which bus services will operate during the construction of the town's new, modern multi-modal transport interchange. The temporary bus hub will form a key part of the strategy to ensure travel around the town centre remains seamless when the main Phase One construction work begins later this year.

To facilitate the temporary bus hub proposals at Chalon Way West, which includes a need to accommodate the requisite number of bus stands, it will be necessary to remove 10 existing trees and a notice is being issued to inform the public and to explain how St Helens Borough Council and its partners will ensure the safety of residents when the tree removal works begin later this month.

Importantly, replacement trees will be replanted on a 2:1 ratio at suitable locations around St Helens town centre and this is in addition to the 117 new trees and 265m of hedgerow that will be introduced in the town centre as part of the main Phase One development.

Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council said: "People have told us how keen they are to see progress on delivery of the existing Phase One regeneration scheme and the site investigation works are one of the first physical signs of the construction phase starting in earnest.

"We are pleased to say that following a detailed review alongside our partners, Chalon Way West has been selected as the ideal location for a temporary bus hub that will help to keep St Helens moving during the town centre's exciting transformation. With easy access to shops, amenities, and employment areas in the town centre it is both the most cost-effective and least disruptive option and we look forward to work beginning to create the temporary hub as soon as possible.  

"We do however recognise that any major town centre regeneration work will cause some inevitable temporary disturbance, for which we apologise in advance. We will seek to minimise any harm caused in every way possible, including through the provision of environmental enhancements and mitigations. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure St Helens town centre is fit for the future, offering a well-connected and attractive place for people to live, work, visit and invest."

Any necessary planning applications for complementary elements of the temporary bus hub - including a ticket office and driver welfare facilities - will be submitted in the coming weeks ahead of an announcement on a comprehensive town centre interim movement strategy later this year.

In December 2023, St Helens Borough Council and its partner The English Cities Fund submitted a Reserved Matters planning application for the first phase of the £100m regeneration of St Helens. The planning application covers 24-acres that will be transformed with a new Market Hall flanked by a mixed-use area set around a 120-bedroom globally branded hotel, 64 stunning new homes, a 75,000 sq ft office and 11,000 sq ft of modern retail space, along with extensive high quality public spaces.

A further Reserved Matters planning application will be submitted later this year for the creation of the town centre's new multi-modal transport interchange, which will be delivered with financial support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

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Last modified on 22 February 2024