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BlogCPO outcome supports regeneration of St Helens town centre

CPO outcome supports regeneration of St Helens town centre

Ambitious proposals to revitalise and regenerate 24 acres of St Helens town centre moved a further step forward today when a Planning Inspector acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in favour of St Helens Borough Council and its strategic delivery partner, the English Cities Fund.

The Inspector’s prompt decision, following the public inquiry held in St Helens on Tuesday August 8, confirmed the Council can use its compulsory purchase powers where private agreements cannot be reached.

St Helens Borough Council is working on a 20-year regeneration plan for the borough with the English Cities Fund, a strategic joint venture between Muse, Legal & General, and Homes England.

The regeneration of St Helens town centre has been prioritised following community feedback and the first phase development, which is facilitated by the CPO, is located at its very heart. It includes a stunning new market hall flanked by a mixed-use area set around a 120-bedroom hotel, 64 new homes and 10,915 sq ft modern retail space with high quality public throughout. The existing bus station will also be extended and renewed with a new modern interchange to encourage public transport and active travel usage.

Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “Everyone in the borough wants to see our town centres regenerated so that they are places we can all be proud of, and the Council is committed to delivering this change with an ambitious once-in-a-lifetime plan. We have the right partners on board and the determination to carry it through.

“With the independent Planning Inspector’s confirmation that we may use compulsory purchase powers where agreements can’t be reached – which will always be our first priority – we can now move forward with confidence.”

A spokesperson for English Cities Fund said: “We are very pleased that we can now move our focus to the next stage of delivery this landmark scheme.  We have outline planning permission and will now make a more detailed Reserved Matters application in September. The CPO hearing featured a strong representation from our regeneration partnership, and we are satisfied that the outcome allows us to progress.

“We are still hoping to reach a negotiated agreement with the one remaining qualifying objector, nevertheless, our authority to use the CPO powers if required has been established. Investing in new transport infrastructure with a revitalised bus station is a crucial part of our once-in-a-generation plans to regenerate St Helens town centre and the wider borough, through our 20-year strategic partnership with St Helens Borough Council.” 

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