Six projects delivering new jobs, new homes, greener transport links, protecting heritage and supporting businesses to grow in St Helens will go forward to Government for the release of round one Town Deal funding.
Business cases for the projects, which are valued at £20.4 million and have been developed through the Town Deal Board will transform St Helens town centre and could help unlock more than £193 million in additional private and public funding.
St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet has approved the six schemes in the first round of submissions in the Towns Fund.
The projects are:
· Glass Futures Phase Two – delivery of a medical glass production facility next to the existing Glass Futures site. The business case asks for £5.5m from the Towns Fund which will unlock around £100 million private investment.
· Cannington Shaw No:7 Bottle Shop – This Grade II listed scheduled monument is marked Category A on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’. The £1.28m Towns Fund project will deliver essential works to stabilise the building, which will allow sensitive repair and restoration works, and a programme of events and interpretive activity. These works will provide a foundation to allow Cannington Shaw Preservation Trust CIC to progress its future vision of fully restoring and re-opening the site over the longer term.
· Town Centre Living and Regeneration – Integral to the long-term vision for the regeneration of St Helens town centre, this project involves the redevelopment of the existing Hardshaw Centre site to provide new commercial office space, a hotel, market hall and high-quality residential accommodation. Whilst investigations and design work are evolving, there is an aspiration to achieve net zero operational quality standard, with £7.24 million from the Towns Fund requested to support Phase one development, which will be delivered by the English Cities Fund (ECF).
· Heritage World – This project will re-imagine the galleries and displays at the World of Glass Museum so that it becomes a vibrant, family-friendly place with refreshed community spaces to engage with wider audiences. Using around £1 million from the Towns Fund, the project seeks to improve quality of the visitor experience.
· Connected Places – An overarching programme for the town centre which involves enhancements to key public transport points. The aim is to use £3.25 million from the Towns Fund to contribute towards a new bus station and public realm upgrades to St Helens Central station, creation of enhanced way-finding and public realm across the town centre, and pedestrian and cycle connections along St Helens Linkway.
· Digital Infrastructure – Creation of a local loop that connects into the ‘LCR Connect’ network and provides full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses borough-wide. The Towns Fund request for this project is £2.5 million, matched by more than £20 million investments from digital infrastructure providers.
Councillor Richard McCauley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “We believe our bids will bring about real and earliest transformation for our borough and it demonstrates that we are no longer just talking about future plans. With financial backing that should we receive the full Towns Fund amounts for each project will help to unlock high quality jobs, homes and infrastructure improvements, both physical and virtual, and protect and invest in our borough’s heritage and culture.
“We’ve got the plans in place to deliver change now and we are determined to make it happen, and the resources identified for these projects mean that the Towns Fund will help speed up their delivery, but regardless of that funding we are committed to the regeneration of St Helens.”
John Tabern, Chairman of the St Helens Town Deal Board, added: “We are incredibly proud that after less than three years together as a board we have been able to develop these first six of eight projects that will transform St Helens. This board has been a collaboration of public and private sector organisations who all want to see St Helens succeed and these projects will bring a new foundation for the future for all organisations and businesses to build on to make a difference to our borough.”
Two projects – the healthy communities health innovation hub and healthy communities youth hub – will be submitted in the second round of submissions in November to allow for further development.
The first six will be submitted to Government by August 5th with decisions expected by the end of the year.