PLANS to demolish Chalon Way multi-storey car park in St Helens town centre have been backed by senior councillors.

The local authority’s cabinet says it has agreed plans to use £1m of funding from central government in advance of a Town Deal to demolish the car park.

The council regards the car park as a “key site for transformation”.

They believe demolishing it will create opportunities to make the Sankey Canal more visible for the rest of the town centre and also as an attractive redevelopment site.

A council statement read: “As part of the £1m grant approval any projects using this money needs to be spent by 31st March 2021.”

Councillor Richard McCauley, cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “We know St Helens Town Centre needs to change to make it fit for purpose in the future and we are working with our partners on the Town Deal Board on submitting a Town Investment Plan to Government which, if approved, will see a series of transformation projects being delivered.

“We need to use this money quickly which means we have had to look at projects that can be delivered to the tight deadline.

“Chalon Way is viewed as an important cog in the wider redevelopment plans and this advanced funding from Government will help to unlock the potential for regeneration in this part of the town centre.”

Announcing the news following this evening’s cabinet meeting, the council said its 14 further car parks, including the recently refurbished Tontine Car Park, provide more than 1300 spaces in the town centre.

The loss of spaces Chalon Way can be accommodated by those other locations, says the council.

The council adds that once demolished short term "meanwhile uses" for the car park site will be worked up in consultation with our partners on the Town Deal Board.

St Helens was identified by the Government as a qualifying area for the Town Deal Programme which allows those selected the opportunity to bid for up to £25m to help with regeneration plans.

The Town Deal Board, made up of businesses and community partners, are now working on submitting a Town Investment Plan in January 2021.

In a statement John Tabern, chairman of the St Helens Town Deal Board, added: “We are fortunate to have so many people on our board who are committed to supporting the improvement of St Helens Town Centre.

"It matters to us all to do the best for our borough and we are working on creating a submission that should help bring investment like this to unlock the transformation."