COUNCILLORS approved the latest draft of plans to make a major outdoor recreation area in a cabinet meeting in January 6 this year.
A public consultation will happen between January 20 and March 2, after which the plan and responses received from the consultation will be submitted to the secretary of state for examination.
The ambitious Bold Forest Park proposal would see a development on former collieries in the south of the town, including areas of woodland and agricultural land at Sutton Manor, Mersey Valley Golf & Country Club, Clock Face Country Park, Colliers Moss Common and Brickfields.
The large-scale development could include activities such as segway riding, dog sledding, mountain boarding, clay pigeon shooting, rafting, archery and a sculpture trail.
The council, together with partners including The Mersey Forest, has drawn up a boundary around the Bold Forest Park area, which straddles the M62 and is predominantly in the Green Belt.
And the park would have a visitor centre and cafe at Sutton Manor, potentially boosting visitor numbers to the Dream sculpture, which critics argue has been left isolated by a lack of public facilities.
An equestrian centre — bringing riding lessons, pony trekking and show jumping to the area — is being considered as well.
In cabinet, Cllr Anthony Johnson, who is chair of Bold Forest Park’s board, said: “It’s good to remember back to where these came from, it came from the spaces left predominantly from former mining areas.
“This report is about maintaining the spaces so that they are used by the communities and attracting people to the borough. It’s also about will people to live in the area and is it something that will attract people to bring businesses to St Helens, and it should be.
“This is a fantastic resource in St Helens and we need to make the most of it. It has taken a long time to get to where we are.”