Senior councillors, council staff, and the ECF Board at the town hall yesterday
Senior councillors, council staff, and the ECF Board at the town hall yesterday

Sir Michael Lyons, Chair of The English Cities Fund (ECF) was among those who paid a visit to St Helens Town Centre on Tuesday to see first-hand the opportunities the partnership with St Helens Borough Council will bring to transform the borough.

St Helens Borough Council and ECF agreed a game-changing 20-year partnership last year with the aim of delivering a sustainable plan for town centre regeneration in the borough, and masterplans for our town centres in St Helens and Earlestown will be published next week.

ECF is a national strategic joint venture set up by Homes England, Legal & General and leading developer, Muse Developments. Since 2001, ECF has been 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.

As the plans for St Helens and Earlestown town centres move towards the next phase members from ECF’s board paid a visit to see how the proposals would come to life in the borough.

Welcoming the visiting delegation, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, Councillor David Baines, said: “When we first announced our partnership with ECF two weeks later the nation went into the first lockdown. Despite the difficulties that the pandemic has brought we have still been working closely together to finalise our vision for the borough and we’re now in the final stages of drawing up those plans which will come before a special cabinet later this month.

“These plans will help to unlock a long list of benefits which will directly impact on those living, working and visiting our town centres over the next 20 years.

“It has been great to finally welcome Sir Michael and the board to our borough and show them how the plans on paper will be put into action on our town centre footprints. While the pandemic might have delayed our progress we are now focused on delivering what will be a once-in-a-generation regeneration for our borough.”

Sir Michael Lyons, Chair of ECF, said: “We were very pleased to meet with David and his colleagues and enjoyed a guided walk through the town centre, as well as a presentation on prospects for early change elsewhere in the Borough. Both sides are now focused on the delivery stage of our partnership; real regeneration bringing jobs, homes and re-vitalised shops and public spaces.

“Towns like St Helens will be key to the country’s economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic. There is much to do and the early challenge is to be bold and imaginative, to create the momentum which will attract further investment and to ensure early benefits for local residents and firms. We are very pleased to be working with St Helens Council, which combines ambition with pragmatism.”

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