With quality dining options and a thriving night-time economy high on the agenda for St Helens town centre, the arrival of a number of new independent businesses over the Christmas period is timely.

Over the past few years, St Helens town centre has seen more and more independent bars and restaurants open up for business, which shows that the trust is there from investors who are showing faith in the council’s ‘Transforming our Town’ vision – and buying into what the town could be.

Entrepreneur Ian Pitts is just one local businessman who shares that belief, and on 18 December launched his fifth venture in St Helens town centre with the opening of an authentic Italian pizzeria, Cork & Dough, on Ormskirk Street, which has created 20 new jobs.

Having already got popular celebrity nightspot haunts such as Imperial nightclub, the Terrace, the Church, and the Secret Garden to his name, Mr Pitts has built on his empire through Cork & Dough, which offers diners a taste of Naples through a variety of delicious, reasonably priced, wood-fired pizzas, wine, and craft beers, courtesy of Manchester-based brewery Seven Bro7hers.

Speaking at a visit, the Deputy Leader for St Helens Council, Andy Bowden, said: “It’s great to see another quality eatery opening in St Helens town centre, which is precisely the sort of establishment that we want to attract to the borough.

“As a council that is looking to change the perception of St Helens town centre by turning it into a more vibrant and welcoming environment by applying for Purple Flag status, this investment is another step in the right direction.

“We’ve talked a lot about the vision we have for St Helens town centre and we are now beginning to see action being delivered.”

Ian, from Eccleston, said: “St Helens town centre is growing and I believe its heading in the right direction.

“The night-time economy is getting better here and my vision was to create more of a city centre feel, which is certainly the ‘in thing’ at the moment. Town centres up and down the country are in need of public support and it would be great to welcome more for families, couples and groups of friends here in St Helens.”

Meanwhile in Church Street, just down the road from Cork & Dough, an unused unit left vacant for a number of years will be brought brought back into life.

The Vault, formerly Bar Bullion, is the brainchild of Dave Harold who lives on Prescot Road and this industrial-inspired bar will offer customers a wide range of spirits as well as a good selection of draft beers.

Despite the Great British pub struggling nationally, it’s also refreshing to see the reopening of two popular town centre pubs following makeovers.

The Royal Tavern in Westfield Street is set to open this month after a refurbishment, while real ale fans will raise a glass to the news that the Duke of Cambridge pub in Duke Street is also about to open its doors after undergoing a full refurbishment.

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