Vinci to give £90m facelift to St Helens town centre

St Helens Borough Council and the English Cities Fund (ECF) have picked Vinci Building as the main contractor on a town centre redevelopment scheme.

Under a new contract, worth about £90m and hailed by the project partners as “the largest-ever single investment in St Helens”, Vinci will lead an effort to transform 24 acres of land in St Helens town centre, about 12 miles east of Liverpool.

The centrepiece of the town centre facelift is a new market hall (pictured), flanked by a mixed-use arena; a 120-bedroom hotel; 64 new homes; 1,000 square metres of retail space; and public realm.

Vinci will also replace the existing St Helens Bus Station with a multimodal interchange.

One final hurdle to clear before the first phase can begin is a detailed planning application that is being submitted this autumn. That process will also decide the specifics of the construction contract.

Vinci was selected after a procurement process governed by the North West Construction Hub, a public sector framework body.

Work on site is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024, said ECF development director Max Bentham.

He added that Vinci’s contract marked phase one of a broader 20-year, “hugely ambitious and multifaceted” regeneration programme for the Merseyside town.

A spokesperson for the ECF – a development company that comprises Muse, Legal & General and Homes England – told Construction News that work is expected to be completed by autumn 2026.

Vinci has yet to appoint a demolition subcontractor, but pledged to “ensure the use of companies within the borough [of St Helens] and buying locally as part of the supply chain, along with creating significant skills, training and employment opportunities for local people”.

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