REGENERATION plans are progressing for the wholesale transformation of a historic market town.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Earlestown was successful in securing £20m from the Government's Levelling Up Fund to transform its town centre and surrounding areas.

The bid was centered around three main projects to reimagine the town's historic market square, restore the iconic Earlestown Town Hall, and make significant improvements to the local train station.

READ > Police name man charged with four counts of assault after early morning incident

St Helens Star: A CGI proposal for an improved 'arrival hub' into Earlestown town centreA CGI proposal for an improved 'arrival hub' into Earlestown town centre (Image: St Helens Council)

After "extensive consultations" with the public, business owners, market traders, and stakeholders, more than 90% are reported to have supported the initial Levelling Up plans.

With certain designs updated earlier this summer, planners are currently working on the proposal's finishing touches, which will be finalised in further consultations with the public later this year.

What is planned for Earlestown?

St Helens Star: A proposed CGI of a redeveloped Market SquareA proposed CGI of a redeveloped Market Square (Image: St Helens Council)

In Earlestown town centre, the first phase of regeneration will see a new market hall built to run parallel to Haydock Street, instead of running along Stanley Street in the original plans.

This will allow for a more open and flexible space on the market square, planners say, with a permanent canopy inspired by the iconic nine arches of the Sankey Viaduct, also planned to cover part of the square.

Market offices and the old toilet block are also planned to be demolished and moved to a new unit under the market hall, opening up views across the market to the Town Hall.

St Helens Star: Interior and exterior restoration is planned for the town hallInterior and exterior restoration is planned for the town hall (Image: St Helens Star)

With a year-long restoration project on Earlestown Town Hall's exterior completed earlier this year, design work on how best to utilise the historic building is currently ongoing.

In planning documents, there are suggestions to create commerical and community spaces, workspaces, a refurbished main hall and stage, and a cafe with a courtyard garden at the Market Street town hall.

There are also plans to increase greenery and make more flexible space on Market Square, as well as plans for a new police station and more car parking spaces for market traders.

Further phases of regeneration include plans to improve the public relam around Market Street and an investment to restore Earlestown train station.

Grants to subsidise shop front improvements have also been suggested to help improve the outlook of town centre areas.

With design work still ongoing, planning applications for the final plans are expected to be submitted following a further round of consultation this Autumn, with plans to start construction work in early 2024.

Plans will 'strengthen' town and market

St Helens Star: A proposed CGI of a redeveloped Market Street and Queen Street JunctionA proposed CGI of a redeveloped Market Street and Queen Street Junction (Image: St Helens Council/ ECF)

Max Bentham, development director at The English Cities Fund, said: “Our work in Earlestown will strengthen the town and market’s offering to help it thrive, by creating spaces that residents and local businesses can use and be proud of.

“The market square is the jewel in the crown of Earlestown and there is a huge opportunity to enhance its infrastructure and appearance with beautifully curated public spaces, tree-lined streets and green planting.

“Earlestown’s community of market traders and businesses are a key stakeholder in the project and as we move from ‘concept’ to ‘detailed design’, it is essential that we incorporate their views.

"We’re looking forward to a productive collaboration to finalise our designs for the market square and wider public realm improvements to ensure they deliver our ambition of providing quality infrastructure and spaces for shoppers, residents and traders alike.”