A CONTRACTOR has been appointed to deliver phase one of the regeneration plans of St Helens town centre.

The next significant step for the ambitious plan by St Helens Borough Council and The English Cities Fund (ECF) to transform 24 acres of the town centre has seen VINCI Building selected as the main contractor to deliver the first phase development.

Leaders say the project aims to revitalise the heart of the town centre and represents the largest ever single investment in St Helens. The scheme already has hybrid planning approval and will progress to a start on site in the first quarter of 2024, subject to a more detailed Reserved Matters planning application that is to be submitted in the autumn.

Work will cover majority of £90m project

The scope of works for VINCI Building is expected to cover the majority of the £90.69 million secured by St Helens Borough Council and ECF for the town centre regeneration, with the specifics of the contract to be agreed following Reserved Matters consent.

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VINCI Building will lead the construction of a new market hall flanked by a mixed-use area set around a 120-bedroom globally branded hotel, 64 new homes and 11,000 sq ft modern retail space, along with sustainable public spaces.

The scope of initial works will also see replacement of the existing bus station with a new modern multi-modal interchange and active travel improvements across the wider town centre.

St Helens Star: A CGI of the planned market hallA CGI of the planned market hall (Image: St Helens Council)VINCI Building will be working to bespoke sustainability strategies for each building that have been developed by the Council and ECF and are anchored on five key themes: Net Zero Carbon; Enhancing Biodiversity; Social Value; Circular Economy; and Health/Wellbeing.

In particular, project leaders say the redevelopment will deliver significant social value in direct support of the Council’s recently adopted Inclusive Growth Strategy. Phase one as a whole is expected to have a strong impact in terms of employment and Gross Value Added (GVA) - with 485 new jobs across the development once it is fully occupied, generating £23.2 million GVA each year.

In terms of the construction phase, VINCI Building will ensure the use of companies within the borough and buying locally as part of the supply chain, along with creating significant skills, training, and employment opportunities for local people. To achieve this, VINCI Building will partner with the council and ECF to create a social inclusion programme.

St Helens Star: A CGI from the town centre regeneration plansA CGI from the town centre regeneration plans (Image: St Helens Council)

Project leaders say it will see the contractor strive to deliver as much positive impact in the community as possible, through local initiatives that include the Ways to Work scheme and connecting with St Helens College, and local schools, to provide employment and training opportunities, while engaging and supporting local Voluntary Community Social Enterprise projects.

VINCI Building will also use its experience of logistics management and phasing of works to minimise the impact on town centre businesses and visitors during the construction phase.

'An important milestone'

Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone and to have taken yet another step closer to work starting on site. VINCI Building have been given the responsibility of delivering a high-quality and highly sustainable first phase development that, during the build programme, will benefit the people of St Helens through a wide range of social value measures.

“Everyone with St Helens’ best interests at heart shares in the belief we need to restore the town centre to its former glory. That means bringing back a sense of our true heritage but also future proofing our buildings, public areas, and transport so that they are fit for purpose. A great deal of time, energy and thought has gone into listening to what our community wants - a high-quality scheme that will be uniquely St Helens. VINCI Building has the experience and capability to help us deliver our vision of a town centre that is child and family-friendly, safe, and sustainable, with thriving places for local businesses, shoppers, visitors, and residents.”

St Helens Star: A CGI in the own centre regeneration plansA CGI in the own centre regeneration plans (Image: Submitted)

Max Bentham, development director at ECF, added: “VINCI Building has the experience and capability to deliver against our goal of a highly sustainable, large-scale transformation of the town. This a hugely ambitious and multi-faceted regeneration project that will leave a lasting positive legacy.

“As a partnership, we’re committed to delivering places that are totally authentic to their location, that respect heritage and aspirations for the future, while at the same time providing opportunities for all to thrive and prosper. We’re looking forward to continuing our collective momentum and starting the first phase early in 2024.”

St Helens Star: A CGI in the town centre regeneration plansA CGI in the town centre regeneration plans (Image: St Helens Council)

John Roberts, managing director of VINCI Building said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for VINCI Building to showcase our technical expertise in town centre regeneration. This project allows us to increase our social value commitments and add value within the borough and surrounding Liverpool City Region. We look forward to working with The English Cities Fund and St Helens Borough Council and bringing this project to site.”

VINCI Building was selected through a procurement process governed by the North West Construction Hub.