Knowsley Council’s Cabinet has today agreed to purchase St Modwen’s assets in Kirkby town centre.
Conclusion of the deal will mean that the Council will finally have control of the land and will be able to kick-start the regeneration in the town centre which has been promised by various private sector organisations over the last 20 years.
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said
“I’m delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement with St Modwen which will put us in control of being able to deliver the town centre that our residents have been promised and need.
The Council, along with our residents, have waited for too long for the private sector to deliver on their promises. Less than two months ago, we announced that enough was enough. We said that we would explore all options to see how the regeneration in Kirkby could be accelerated. One option was for the Council to take on the town centre, which is the quickest way for the retail scheme to be delivered.
Our offer is justifiable and affordable. Until all of the legal agreements have been signed, the offer remains commercially sensitive. We have to respect St Modwen’s confidentiality with this business deal.”
Morrisons Senior Development Manager, James Smith, said
“We remain committed to opening a new store in Kirkby and will continue to work closely with Knowsley Council on these plans.”
As well as the plans to purchase St Modwen’s assets, the Cabinet has also today agreed plans to deliver a cinema scheme (on the former Kirkby Library site on Newtown Gardens) and purchase the Knowsley Community College site on Cherryfield Drive.
Principal of Knowsley Community College, Monica Box, said
“We are delighted with the news that Knowsley Council will be pursuing the purchase of our Cherryfield Drive site. Once agreed, this sale will enable the College to progress with plans to relocate to new premises in the heart of Kirkby town centre.
Securing accommodation closer to the town centre has been an ambition of the College for some time. The College is completely committed to serving the needs of Kirkby residents, and is looking forward to establishing a new training centre in the town centre.”
Councillor Morgan added
“We have ambitious plans for Kirkby which go far beyond the delivery of the Morrisons supermarket. Today marks the start of us being in a position to deliver so much more for Kirkby – something we have wanted all along for our residents and businesses. We want Kirkby to be a thriving town centre offering choice for residents and visitors alike.
This is good news for everyone and we hope that our commitment to the town centre will result in more businesses deciding to call Kirkby their home. I’d particularly like to support and encourage local, independent traders to come to Kirkby as well as the more well-known high street brands. The current businesses in the town centre have remained loyal to Kirkby, despite challenging times for them, and we really appreciate their continued support. I hope that they will now enjoy the benefits of this redevelopment.
We have said all along that we wouldn’t be starting from scratch in Kirkby. St Modwen already had plans approved for the supermarket, the site has been prepared for construction, highways schemes have been delivered, and a contractor is in place. We are aiming to complete the legal agreements quickly so that work can start on the construction of the supermarket as soon as possible. In addition, Home Bargains and KFC are still committed to the retail development in Kirkby which will run alongside the supermarket build.
I’m also delighted that the Council’s officers have been able to confirm interest from a cinema operator and restaurant owners and we are looking to get that scheme started as soon as we can.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said
“I remember Kirkby town centre when I was a kid. It was the vibrant heart our local community. Town centres still have huge untapped potential, but, with the rise of online shopping and changing consumer habits, high streets need to change in order to survive.
As Metro Mayor, I welcome and support the action which Knowsley Council is taking to shape a positive future for Kirkby town centre and deliver the much needed regeneration that local people deserve.”
George Howarth MP added
“Knowsley Council is to be congratulated for negotiating to buy out St Modwen to enable the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre to go ahead.”
“The private sector has, over the past 20 years and more, treated Kirkby solely as a source of shop rents and has not put in the effort to bring about the regeneration of the town centre.
By contrast, Knowsley Council shares the ambitions of the people of Kirkby for a modern, attractive town centre providing good shopping facilities including a national supermarket chain and up-to-date entertainment facilities.”
“Well done our councillors!”
Read more on Kirkby town centre update here.