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Businesses are choosing Kirkby – and here’s why

by Jonathan Kearney

Kirkby has seen a transformation over the last few years, since Knowsley Council purchased the town centre in 2019 to kickstart its development.

The Council led and funded a project to build a brand new 94,000 feet2 retail development, which includes a Morrisons superstore.  As a result of that investment, over 20 new businesses have opened in Kirkby, Central House will be welcoming over 200 office staff in January 2024, the Financial Times highlighted Kirkby as one of the top three areas in the country in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and BBC research highlighted that footfall in the Town Centre had increased by 160%.

As well as all of that, the refurbishment of the Multi-Storey Car Park (turning into a “Travel Hub”) is well under way and includes the installation of electric vehicle charging points, sensor controlled lighting, and CCTV.  The car park is due to reopen early in 2024.

It’s clear to see why so many businesses are now choosing to call Kirkby their home . . . .

Ste and Lyn Barkley from Shush clothing at 3 St Chad’s Parade said: “After spending some time away, we realised that the heart of our business beats in sync with the town.  Our loyal customers have been persistent with requests and appreciation for the Shush brand, which encouraged us to make a comeback.  There’s a unique community here and an authentic banter that we share with the locals.  Plus, the town’s commitment to convenience, like offering free parking, perfectly aligns with a customer-first approach.  Kirkby isn’t just a location for us; it’s a partnership with the town and every shopper who walks through our doors.  The eclectic mix of retailers adds to the dynamic atmosphere, making Kirkby an ideal spot for any business looking to thrive alongside a supportive and engaging community.”

Nuvola Childrenswear opened their store at 24 St Chad’s Parade in September 2023.  Owners Alex Toner and Ellie Evans wanted to open in the town due to the friendly community and the loyal customers.  Alex and Ellie said: “We can see improvements and investment in the town and we are happy to be a part of it.”

The Coffee House opened their doors in August 2023.  Lizzie Clarke, Head of Marketing at The Coffee House, said: “Over the last few years, we have been progressing our expansion plans for The Coffee House, opening 19 new outlets in 12 years.  With Kirkby’s regeneration progressing, we also wanted to be part of it.  We had already worked with Knowsley Council to open our Huyton outlet in 2018 and, due to its success, we were keen to have another base in Knowsley with Kirkby being the ideal location.  Knowsley Council has once again provided invaluable help and support for us to open in Kirkby and we already feel part of the local community.”

Kirkby Blindz opened at 11 Market Square in October 2023, but had previously been based in different locations in Kirkby Town Centre over a number of years.  Owner Lee Riley said: “We have great passing trade now that we are in our own store.  The people of Kirkby have served us well over the years and we have plenty of return custom.”

Kettle Watch Repair opened in August 2023 at 40 St Chad’s Parade.  Owners Steve Lawrence and Paul Jones said: “Living here, we’ve always wanted to be in the shopping centre. There is a real sense of community here in Kirkby and we can see it is a up and coming shopping centre.”

Councillor Tony Brennan, Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, added: “We bought the Town Centre in 2019 – shortly after stepping in and taking ownership, we asked the people of Kirkby “what makes a good town centre”.  As well as a supermarket, a better choice of shops was a key priority for local people.  We heard that message loud and clear and that’s why we continue to promote Kirkby as an ideal location for business operators – our work in that respect has helped to secure a letting of Central House for over 200 office staff and Fun First Entertainment will occupy a two-storey building on Cherryfield Drive with an inflatable park on the ground floor and a food and drink market on the upper floor.

Our refurbishment of the Multi-Storey Car Park is progressing well and getting close to completion which, as well as providing improved facilities at this key gateway site, will provide more free parking right in the heart of Kirkby Town Centre.”

To find out more about business premises and opportunities in Kirkby Town Centre, contact Jon Lowe, Head of Land and Development at Knowsley Council, by emailing Jonathan.Lowe@knowsley.gov.uk or calling 07827 256151.