ST HELENS Council announced on Monday that it is tendering for a box park operator to bring a new food and drink offer to the town centre from early 2022.

This is intended to occupy the pace left empty by the demolition of Chalon Way car park in the short to medium-term, while longer-term plans to regenerate the area remain in the pipeline.

What is a 'box park?'

Box parks are venues that bring communities together, providing a space to eat, drink and listen or take part in live entertainment, all under one roof.

The council says box parks have proved hugely popular in other areas.

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One example is Hatch in Manchester city centre, which is a vibrant pop-up destination featuring independent retailers, breweries, restaurants and a courtyard.

Meanwhile, Shoreditch, in London, hosts a pop-up mall for independent and global, fashion and lifestyle stores and cafes.

BOXPARK launched the world's first pop-up shopping mall in Shoreditch back in 2011, and has since become a staple of the East London scene.

What St Helens Council is saying about the plans

The box park will operate as a 'meanwhile use' on the former multi-story car park at Chalon Way site, which was demolished and cleared earlier this year, with plans to regenerate the site in the longer term.

Cllr Richard McCauley, the council's cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “This is yet another exciting development for St Helens town centre and one of many announcements that we’ll be making in the coming days and weeks.

“The space could provide a great reason to encourage people back into the town centre.

"People enjoy spending time with family and friends eating, drinking, people watching and listening to music and this site could provide the ideal opportunity for this in St Helens, like it has in other parts of the country."

He added: “We envisage that this could happen in the short to medium term and while other developments are taking shape.

“We said we’d invest in the town centre and that we were determined to make it a place we can be proud of, and we meant it.”