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Architecture students showcase their designs for Huyton Village Centre

by Jonathan Kearney

Students from the University of Liverpool’s School of Architecture have been sharing their design concepts for Huyton Village Centre.

Last year 30 students from the School of Architecture began working with Knowsley Council to develop their own designs for the regeneration of the Village Centre as part of their final year project.

A showcase of the students’ ideas was launched at Common on Derby Road on Wednesday 22 June and will be on display in the window of the former B&M unit until Wednesday 29 June.

The project has been themed around sustainable high street renewal, focussing on how spaces and buildings in Huyton Village Centre could be used and how they could be transformed in terms of their appearance.

The designs of the students are concepts rather than plans to be implemented.

The relationship between the Council and the University has been established via Architectural Emporium, who are the architects working with the Council on the current shop front improvements in Huyton Village, and with whom the School Of Architecture are engaging with as an industry partner on their research and teaching on this project.

The students initially focussed on designs for temporary uses on the high street before focussing on concepts for a community hub based either on Sherbourne Square, the former Mayfair Cinema ( previously Boots) or the current William Hill site.

The Council has an exciting 10-year development plan for Huyton Village which includes a number of ambitious proposals, the most transformational of these will see the delivery of:

  • A commercial district – with opportunities for a hotel, offices (including the Council’s new HQ) and residential accommodation set around a new Village Green which will incorporate the Cenotaph.
  • A station gateway – creating a sense of arrival in Huyton incorporating new public spaces.
  • Derby Road high street improvements – providing a focal point in the town centre through the delivery of a streetscape project incorporating new community spaces, green space, improved lighting and better access to / from the train and bus stations.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The students have delivered some fantastic designs and ideas and have clearly taken on board some of the feedback about what residents and visitors want to see. The plans for Huyton Village Centre are really exciting and the Council are keen to explore ideas to make best use of the space.”

Sandy Britton, Senior Lecturer from the Liverpool School of Architecture, said: “A thriving high street is the commercial and social back bone of a town. The pandemic was a particularly difficult time for high streets and many continue to struggle. The students have envisaged how the high street environment in Huyton Village Centre can be celebrated and regenerated in different ways.”

Dr Fei Chen, Reader in Architecture and Design from the University of Liverpool, said: “It has been a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to project some potential impact of our research to Huyton’s high street regeneration through this collaboration. Our research is looking for ways to achieve design excellence and high quality public space. The collaboration with the council and Architectural Emporium is an effective vehicle for that.”