Project: St Helens Town Centre
Location: St Helens, Merseyside
Client: Jon Matthews Architects
Powers’ involvement: Complex topographic survey and measured building survey
Project completion: November 2021
Led by ECF (English Cities Fund), a national strategic joint venture set up by Homes England, Legal & General and a leading developer, Muse Developments, St Helens’ regeneration project is expected to take place over the next 20 years. The initial Phase One planning application is anticipated to be submitted early in 2022. The proposed plan should transform the town centre, building upon its existing assets and unique elements. Designed to be high quality, sustainable regeneration project, the aim is to transform St Helens’ town centre into an exciting, vibrant place for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The proposals for St Helens town centre divide it into four zones:
- the Central Retail Zone
- the Civic and Heritage Zone
- Discovery Zone
- Education and Entertainment Zone.
Along with providing space for new, high-quality homes for families to live and grow, the proposals also include a new mixed-use development including a new market, a hotel, new cutting-edge, flexible commercial Grade A office space, a redesigned bus station and improved connectivity. There is also the creation of a new public, green park called ‘Discovery Park’ in the centre of the town.
The Masterplan Development Framework for St Helens sets out the multi-million-pound vision and principles for the town. The Framework has been prepared by St Helens Borough Council in partnership with regeneration experts, ECF, and was published ahead of a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the proposals in October 2021.
To aid in the development of the Masterplan for the St Helens regeneration scheme, Powers was commissioned by Jon Matthews Architects to carry out a complex topographic survey and measured building surveys of the entire town centre, which included streetscapes of the town. This information was all fundamental to the accurate development of the Masterplan.
Working in a busy town centre, with a weekly street market, presents various challenges when undertaking surveys. However, Powers’ team worked around the town centre visitors, ensuring that they caused as little disruption as possible. The team also had to be aware of the wider environment that they were working in, as it presented various health and safety challenges. In addition, with multiple people working on the project across the town centre, it was important that clear communication channels were available to ensure coordination across the project.
Public consultations on the draft Development Masterplan Framework launched November 2021, providing residents, communities, and local businesses with an opportunity to have their say on the plans. The Masterplan enables key assets of the town to be built upon and become an integral part once again. Within these key assets is the Sankey Canal. During the survey project, the Powers team unearthed a blue plaque for surveyor and builder of the Sankey Canal, Henry Berry.
Sam Ainsley from Jon Matthews Architects commented “Powers provided us with comprehensive and accurate topographic surveys, on what was an extremely complex area. The information contained in these surveys, including the elevations details, all help us understand the area – and how it can be successfully transformed for future generations – as part of the regeneration project.”
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