THE brand name of a new hotel that will form part of the St Helens town centre regeneration plans remains under wraps due to “contractual commercial sensitivities”.

The Star reported in April how that further steps were to be taken over plans to bring a new hotel to St Helens town centre as part of the £90m regeneration scheme.

The council held a meeting to formally approve franchise and management agreements for the forthcoming new 120-bedroom hotel on Bickerstaffe Street.

Cabinet meeting

Proposals went before the council’s cabinet at a meeting in April – but were on the “private agenda”, meaning the public nor the press could inspect them or hear senior councillors debate the issue.

Asked at the time to explain to residents why this decision was being discussed, and a decision made, behind closed doors St Helens Council issued a statement saying there were "contractual commercial sensitivities" to consider.

It is understood that contracts are with legal teams from the interested parties and that the hotel's identity will only be revealed once the agreements are completed.

Council statement

The council's statement issued at the time of the cabinet meeting when the hotel plans were discussed, read: “As a new hotel is an integral part of our exciting, once-in-a-lifetime transformation plans for St Helens town centre, we understand the eagerness to learn of the brand name – however due to contractual commercial sensitivities, unfortunately this information cannot be made public at this time.

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“The regeneration of St Helens and Earlestown town centres are without a doubt the most significant projects that the council has invested in, in recent years – something we know residents, businesses and stakeholders alike want to see and we look forward to providing more updates as soon as we are able to do so.

“It won’t be long now before our communities start to see positive change in St Helens town centre, with the new hotel expected to be up and running in winter 2026, providing a luxurious place to stay whether it’s for business or leisure, all part of our vision to make St Helens an attractive destination to live, work and visit.”

Although the brand of the hotel has not been released, sources say it is an internationally recognised chain.

'Backing of business community'

As reported earlier this year,  it is understood the local authority is aware of the pessimistic views expressed online by some social media users who have questioned the need for a hotel.

But local leaders believe it is important the alternative argument for why a modern hotel in the heart of the town centre is needed should be expressed.

They argue a modern, business-friendly hotel is considered an essential part of the mix in terms of how to bring a town centre back to life - by going beyond purely retail and using a formula of new homes, contemporary office space, new market and new transport hub.

Sources close to the development partnership, which involves the English Cities Fund and the council, have previously explained that "extensive consultation and market testing" took place, with the overwhelming feedback – especially from the business community – backing the idea.

It is a move rooted very much in the belief that St Helens is moving towards becoming a focal point for innovation, particularly around the glass industry.

The town's central location between Liverpool and Manchester also make it attractive to people visiting the cities for business or leisure opportunities.

Furthermore, the sources add that the council received multiple "competitive bids from international hotel brands and operators for this opportunity".

Those driving the regeneration plans say St Helens is already attracting increasing numbers of business travellers because of developments such as Glass Futures and other major employers in the area, coupled with the success of its sporting and leisure attractions, such as Saints and Haydock Park racecourse.

They believe that trend will only continue as the borough invests in high-growth industries and point to St Helens being one of the main beneficiaries of Liverpool City Region’s new status as an Investment Zone.

As reported by the Star, St Helens Manufacturing and Innovation Campus - which includes part of Pilkington's former Greengate site is part of the Investment Zone.