You may have read an article in the Liverpool Echo recently about Kirkby missing out on Government cash and suggesting that the town had been overlooked. The article relates to the Government’s Town Deal Fund.
The truth is that Kirkby didn’t miss out on funding – no bid was made for Kirkby because the money wasn’t needed. In Kirkby’s case, other funding streams have successfully been secured.
Anybody who actually visits the town centre can see that the regeneration is actually happening, so it is a bit strange to read an article about Kirkby “missing out”.
Here are the facts about the regeneration of Kirkby town centre, what is actually taking place and how it is being paid for.
Investment to date in Kirkby town centre
Kirkby town centre has already benefitted from over £143m of public sector investment, which has delivered:
- An upgrade of Kirkby Bus Station
- The refurbishment of the Kirkby Centre
- Public art and public realm works
- Investment in leisure facilities, including the opening of a 3G football pitch and a refurbishment of the gym at Kirkby Leisure Centre
- A new St Chad’s Health Centre
- Several highways improvement schemes in and around the town centre
- A new Kirkby Market with 120 stalls
The public sector investment also paid for the £43.6m cost of purchasing St Modwen’s assets in November 2019. This purchase was supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority who contributed £10m towards the cost.
The Combined Authority also pledged a further £5m to support the ongoing development of the town centre, and most recently has agreed to allocate £2.7m of that towards a scheme to develop a new cinema and food/beverage businesses. This scheme now has planning permission and will be commencing in 2021.
What else is being delivered?
Along with the Kirkby Centre, Bus Station, Health Centre, Market, public realm, and highways improvements, work started on the new retail development in the town centre only a couple of weeks after the Council took over ownership towards the end of 2019.
The Council is leading a retail scheme which will deliver 98,000 feet2 of new retail space. Anybody who visits the town centre can’t miss the structure for the new supermarket, along with the other retail units, which is now very prominent on the site. So far, Morrisons, Home Bargains, KFC and Taco Bell have signed up to this scheme, which is due to open in the summer of 2021.
As mentioned above, a multi-screen cinema scheme with food and drink outlets now also has planning permission and a cinema operator (Reel Cinemas) has been secured. Work will start on this scheme in 2021.
Kirkby town centre provides a great location – it is easily accessible by road and public transport, and is attracting a lot of interest from other potential investors and companies.
The future is definitely bright for Kirkby – far from “missing out”, substantial investment and funding has been secured and local residents can look forward to seeing Knowsley Council’s deliver the plans for the town centre in 2021.