St Helens Borough Council, working with partners in the transport sector, have secured £14.8m to deliver the St Helens Southern Gateway scheme which will see significant improvements to the borough’s transport network, with an emphasis on sustainable forms of transport.
The council will deliver £4.8m of improvements to encourage safer cycling routes and to make walking routes safer, all helping people to get to and from Lea Green Station, opening the wider region to residents.
The funding – allocated from the Liverpool City Region Transforming Cities Fund – will be used to introduce six new cycle routes and improve the junction at the Bull and Dog roundabout to improve safety for all road users.
Previously called the Eastern Region Interchange and Connectivity (ERIC) – the St Helens Southern Gateway works will improve access by bike and on foot in the area. The wider funding envelope will upgrade the existing rail station at Lea Green and increase the capacity of the park and ride facility.
Labour Cllr Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, says: “I am pleased to bring forward this positive report to accept a substantial grant from the City Region.
We have for some time been working on the business case for the ERIC project, to be referred to as the St Helens Southern Gateway from this date on.
The scheme has secured £14.8 million form the Combined Authority and Steve Rotherham, showing the benefits of a Labour council working in partnership with a Labour Metro Mayor.
£4.8 million will go towards cycling and walking schemes, increasing capacity at Lea Green station and bring forward proposals to provide 6 cycle routes.
The second part of the award, £9.9 million, through Merseytravel in partnership with Northern Rail, will be used to to upgrade Lea Green station and increase the capacity of the park and ride facility.
We have already consulted the public with the majority of the 431 responses positive.
The cycle routes will include a mix of initiatives, including off road tracks, segregated cycle and footways, new and upgraded crossing points, 20 mph areas and on road cycle lanes.
The project will be delivered by March 2023 and will form part of a wider active travel network across St Helens and help our residents make more sustainable travel choices helping us all to achieve our carbon zero ambitions.
This announcement and the work behind it yet again demonstrates our commitment to sustainable travel, and to addressing climate change. Whatever the rhetoric of others, we are delivering.”
Welcoming the ability to invest in green routes, which was formally approved at a virtual cabinet meeting this week, Lisa Harris, St Helens Borough Council’s Executive Director of Place Services, said: “As a council we’re always looking to make active travel like walking and cycling an easier option – particularly for shorter trips – which is evident through a number of recent improvements schemes we’ve carried out during the past year. This includes a new Toucan crossing on Boardmans Lane and an increase in cyclists using the protected cycle lanes at Chester Lane, Jubits Lane and Clock Face Road, which is great to see.
With funding now in place for the St Helens Southern Gateway project, we can further boost the borough’s emerging active travel network, helping us achieve our key priorities for the borough which include promoting good health and supporting a strong, diverse and well-connected local economy – as well as tackling climate change through reduced emissions.”
Shane Fitzpatrick, the Combined Authority’s Interim Director for Integrated Transport and lead officer for the Transforming Cities Fund, said: “Investing in integrated transport schemes that include cycling and walking in additional to infrastructure projects such as new station buildings is a top priority for us. The more we can do to encourage people to use sustainable modes of transport the better and the planned improvements at Lea Green station are a great example of this.”
For more information on the scheme, visit: https://www.sthelens.gov.uk/eric