COUNCILLORS have been discussing an acquisition within St Helens town centre behind closed doors today.

Several items were listed to be heard in private by St Helens Council’s cabinet this afternoon.

One item is listed simply as “town centre strategic acquisition”, with no other details listed.

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The reason given for being heard in private is that it contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person, including the authority holding that information.

While it has not been confirmed, a Labour source has confirmed that the building in question is the unocuppied former Marks & Spencer store, which has been vacant since March.

St Helens Star:

Church Square Shopping Centre is a key part of the council's regeneration plans

It is understood the move is part of its wider plans for the regeneration of St Helens town centre.

The area around Church Square – which the council bought for £26.6 million in 2017 – is viewed by St Helens Council as a key focal point for the regeneration.

It is understood the council intends to use the former Marks & Spencer store to house the town’s indoor market.

It was previously reported in November that council chiefs were in talks with traders over the future of St Mary’s Market, which is based within St Mary’s shopping arcade.