Town reacts to devo deal

St Helens Town Hall
St Helens Town Hall

The news that St Helens Council has signed up to the Liverpool Devo deal has received a mixed response from residents.

The council announced on Thursday that it had unanimously approved the deal which leader Barrie Grunewald said would bring the town closer to all five other councils in the city region without losing decision-making authority.

But not all residents agreed, with some fearing that the deal would lead to St Helens losing its independence.

Julie Kennedy wrote on Facebook: “Sack the council! They have sold us down the Swanee. We don’t want it, now we will have nothing while Liverpool gets it all.”

Kevin Heywood agreed, adding: “St Helens has lost its independence. Now a suburb of a city 15 miles away! A bad day for the town.”

Karen Berrigan wrote: “Smart educated money driven move by the circus we call council. Too scared of the old saying of it ain’t broke don’t fix it. No wonder this was not put to vote prior to election. Lancashire roots, mining town, gone.”

Karen Smith said: “RIP St Helens gone but never forgotten.”

But not everyone disapproved of the plan.

Peter Newall wrote: “Don’t mind being linked to a vibrant city. St Helens and Liverpool are both great.”

In a St Helens Reporter poll, 62 per cent of residents said they did not want to see St Helens forge closer ties with with Liverpool.

Coun Grunewald said: “I believe this is the best deal we can secure for the people of St Helens – and the wider Liverpool City Region.

“It’s a deal that will give people here in St Helens – and the rest of the city region – greater control and more decision-making powers on big issues like economic development, transport and skills.

“I’m absolutely clear that decisions about the future of this borough should be made as close to this borough as possible. This devolution deal brings some crucial decision making from the Government and closer to St Helens.”