There have also been a number of rumours recently about St Modwen’s plans for their town centre retail scheme – ranging from speculation that St Modwen have decided not to proceed to suggestions that Morrisons, KFC and other retailers have decided not to invest in Kirkby.
Many of these rumours and concerns won’t be addressed unless and until the new retail scheme actually starts, so Knowsley Council recently met with St Modwen to call for progress to be made. The council will continue to put as much pressure as we can on St Modwen to make a start – but the fact is that the town centre shops – and the new scheme – in Kirkby “belong” to St Modwen, and the council is unable to force St Modwen to start the scheme.
It is also important to remember that the public sector – including the council, NHS Knowsley and Merseytravel – have not only committed to Kirkby, but actually delivered millions of pounds of investment in Kirkby town centre.
Over recent years, these public sector agencies have delivered:
- A £4.6m transformation of the Kirkby Centre (including a new Kirkby Library, a new Kirkby One Stop Shop, a new Kirkby Gallery, and new Adult Disability Services)
- A £1.7m upgrade of Kirkby Bus Station
- More than £1m of investment in leisure facilities, including the opening of a 3G football pitch at Kirkby Leisure Centre and a gym refurbishment
- The £7m new St Chad’s Health Centre
- A number of highways improvement schemes (including the Valley Road and County Road / Hall Lane junctions
- £2.5m redevelopment of Kirkby Market with 120 stalls
In addition, Knowsley Council has demolished a number of derelict buildings so that the sites of the proposed new facilities are “construction ready”. The council has also put in place all of the required planning, highways and other legal agreements to facilitate the start of the retail scheme.