With regeneration plans underway, the High Street Task Force urge that Earlestown needs the support of the community to reach its potential. 

Steve Millington, High Street Expert, insisted that the key to unlock the town’s potential was community engagement, and urged local businesses to get involved.

The High Street Task Force were introduced to the project following a review of the high street and the panel of experts created which led to the 2018 report.

The report included a recommendation to establish further funding for the high street, along with a suggestion that other activities and general management is also vital to bring the town back to its former glory.   

The High Street Expert said: “The council are involved, quite successfully, in bringing money in for projects- our bit of it is on activating the town centre and what the skills and capacity is to do that.

“There are different processes for different towns. There’s no one size fits all solution; the solutions have to come from public knowledge. We can guide it and give some evidence, but it has to come from within the town."

Steve also discussed the recent workshop the High Street Task Force had offered to local businesses and organisations of Earlestown.

“It’s community capacity building really is what we try to achieve; to get a feel from local stakeholders of what can be done quickly but also what stops them from doing it.

“We’re trying to get an idea of those big constraints, so the idea is to generate quick wins, that can be done, to help local people activate Earlestown.”

The Task Force also stressed the importance for businesses to offer online shopping and services to widen their customers.

They also mentioned the need for property owners of the town to get involved as they are a key factor to regenerating Earlestown. 

Councillor Kate Groucutt, Portfolio holder for businesses at St Helens Borough Council, said: “I’m really excited to get the involvement of businesses, community groups, and residents here in Earlestown.

“We’ve got two exciting regeneration plans in St Helens and Earelstown town centre, and it’s going to be a long-term project but we’ve got to involve residents and businesses from both towns to find out their views, particularly on the changes of the market, just to make sure we have a shared vision of what the town looks like.”

Local businesses were invited to attend the workshop last week to share their views on the regeneration plans of Earlestown.

Ken Eden and his partner Julie Shukie, managers of Scott’s Deli, left the workshop feeling positive about the future of the town.

Ken said: “It was the first one, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought it was good to get everyone together and hear their views. The town’s probably suffered from under investments- it’s been a long time. I think everyone’s opinion is that it needs another boost.”

Julie added: “We’ve lost a lot of footfall- there used to be three banks here. People used to come in to get food and use that bank; it brought people into town.

“I think everyone was thinking the same. People sometimes are worried about what’s going to happen to the town, but I think it was all positive starting off.

“I hope everything that they say they’ll do actually happen.” 

St Helens Star: Scott's Deli catered for the High Street Task Force workshop Scott's Deli catered for the High Street Task Force workshop

The owners of the deli and vehicle café also catered for the workshop and have now been put on the council’s approved list for catering future gatherings.

Ideas were discussed in the workshop, including the potential reopening of  Rams Head and possible pop-up bars in the town centre.

St Helens Star: Plans to reopen local pub were also discussed at workshopPlans to reopen local pub were also discussed at workshop