A new masterplan for St Helens
St Helens Borough Council and the English Cities Fund (ECF) are working as Partners to bring forward ambitious plans to transform St Helens and Earlestown town centres. Their plans will see a once in a lifetime regeneration project which will span the next two decades.
They set out the vision for the new town centres in two Masterplan Development Frameworks. These documents have been created to guide the transformation of the town centres, with a focus on ensuring development is high quality, sustainable and prioritises the people of St Helens. The plans are ambitious, and include investment in public spaces, homes and workplaces, markets, and heritage.
The Partners recognised the importance of consultation and engagement on these transformative plans. Alongside their wider consultation, they identified several key groups whose voices are typically unheard in engagement processes and invited PLACED to lead these discussions.
What we did
We delivered eight events with local teenagers, young people with Special Educational Needs, disabled people, older people, young care leavers and their social workers / foster carers. Through a range of activities, we explored
•How people feel about the Town Centres of St Helens and Earlestown today
•What they feel is missing and challenges exist for them
•Whether the proposals go any way towards addressing the problems they identified.
We delivered in-person workshops at a local college and school. Students were encouraged to use post-it notes to write down their thoughts and responses to the three questions through drawing, writing and discussion. The college students also developed their own ideas for key spaces in the town centre through model making.
We delivered several workshops online due to the ongoing challenges with Covid-19. We used videos of proposals and interactive discussion to explore people’s views about the proposals.
Finally, we delivered a pop-up in the Earlestown Wetherspoons pub where members of the public came to talk with the team about their thoughts.
A diverse range of views were shared about the two town centres. People felt the masterplans go a long way to address some of the physical changes required to make the town centres more attractive places to spend time, especially the high-quality public spaces for people to come.