A recent consultation asking for views on the proposed transformation of Earlestown town centre showed 94% of people wanted the plans to go ahead.
St Helens Borough Council and its partner regeneration experts, English Cities Fund (ECF), asked for views on their proposed Masterplans for both Earlestown and St Helens town centres in October last year.
Proposals for Earlestown aimed to return the town centre to its “former glory” by creating a thriving and vibrant high street and marketplace. They include re-opening the Town Hall and redesigning Market Square as a place for people to gather and use for different events.
The Masterplan also includes accessibility improvements at Earlestown railway station and a potential new ‘transport hub’ opposite the station.
The Council say that the extensive public consultations, which took place in person across the borough as well as online, have helped enhance their plans after listening to feedback from businesses, residents and visitors.
The updated plans now include working closely with traders on the right type of weather-proof market space for the historic Earlestown Market.
Thanks to everyone who gave their feedback on Earlestown plans
Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “Thank you so much to those who took the time to look at the plans, we know that there were more than 38,000 views of the plans online with more than 400 comments made on the back of viewing the plans.
“It is clear that businesses and residents in our borough are behind these plans and this is already building confidence in our local economy that our vision will bring real, positive change for our borough.
“There were some valid points raised in the consultation and we’ve listened to that feedback. While we want to encourage more people to use public transport with improved bus and train connectivity as part of our vision for a greener, more environmentally friendly borough, we recognise the need for quality car parking, particularly in St Helens town centre. The new plan will provide safe parking day and night to make sure visitors can make the most of all attractions.
“Our outline proposals for a partially covered market space in Earlestown have been endorsed and this will enable the plans to be developed with the market traders to find the right size and design of facility to support this jewel of the town centre.
“The message throughout the consultation has been clear to us and our partners at ECF that residents and businesses want to see us get moving, and if the frameworks are approved we hope to put forward planning applications in the coming months.”
The English Cities Fund (ECF) is a national development joint venture between leading urban regenerator, Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England.
What happens next?
The first phase in Earlestown town centre will include:
- Enhancing Market Square with a partially covered market area, flexible events space and landscape improvements.
- Improvements to key high streets between the rail station and the Market Square to make the environment more welcoming and pedestrian friendly in support of local businesses.
Following the publication of the masterplans, work is continuing to support existing businesses that may be affected by the transformation, alongside progression on a number of acquisitions to deliver the first phase of the masterplans.
The updated frameworks will be examined at a Cabinet meeting next Wednesday, 2 February. You can view the updated frameworks in the papers for this meeting on the St Helens Council website.
What do you think?
Are you pleased to see these plans to transform Earlestown go ahead? What difference will they make to you? Let us know in the comments below.