Home In focus Kirkby Retail Development achieves another milestone
Paving stone being laid at new Kirkby town centre retail development

Kirkby Retail Development achieves another milestone

by Jonathan Kearney

Just 15 months after acquiring assets in Kirkby town centre, Knowsley Council is getting ready to hand over new retail units to the operators for internal fit-out this Spring.  Quite an achievement given that the contractors, GMI, have been working in challenging conditions throughout a global health crisis.

Work on the new retail development in the heart of the town centre started in December 2019, just a month after Knowsley Council purchased the town centre in a £43.8m deal, supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with a £10m investment.

The £10m is from the Local Growth Fund.  Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

The new retail development consists of a 45,000 feet2 Morrisons superstore, a six-pump petrol filling station, a new store for Home Bargains, and Taco Bell and KFC drive-through restaurants.  The site also comes with over 450 car parking spaces.

Work has continued at pace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the retail development is now a very visible feature of the town centre.

Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, said: “The progress which we have made in such as short space of time is truly amazing.  We have remained committed to delivering an improved retail offer for our residents, and now we are preparing for opening.  Great news for everyone and a fantastic achievement from everybody involved – particularly GMI Construction – in getting us to this point.”

Work is nearing completion on the external structures and it is expected that Morrisons, Home Bargains, Taco Bell and KFC will be starting their internal fit-out in the coming weeks.

The new retail development is due to open in the Summer.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, added: “We have ambitious plans for Kirkby town centre in terms of driving the Borough’s recovery from COVID-19 and helping to get our local and regional economy back on track.  Once the retail development is open, we will move on to the next phase of our plans, which includes the delivery of a cinema scheme with several associated food and drink outlets.  Our consultation event with residents and businesses last year identified a need for more retail, more food and drink establishments, and a better leisure offer including a cinema.  As those residents and businesses can now clearly see, we are delivering on these priorities.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Kirkby is obviously somewhere really close to my heart so it’s brilliant to see the progress being made to get the Townie back on the up again.

“When work is finished, hopefully it’ll help make the area somewhere local people can be proud of again.

“When I was elected, I promised that devolution would make a real difference to people’s lives and we can see that in projects like this.

“We’ve put up to £15m into the regeneration of Kirkby Town Centre and have recently committed another £66m to help build a station at Headbolt Lane.

“Working closely with Knowsley Council, we’ll only see the area get better and better.”

The Metro Mayor, Leader of the Council, Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member and Knowsley Council’s Chief Executive visited the site today to lay the final paving slab at the Morrisons development in preparation for the site to be handed over to Morrisons for internal fit-out.

The new retail development is expected to create 500 new jobs once open and will boost the local economy by £15.3m each year.

The LGF is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund. Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. For more information visit: https://www.liverpoollep.org/funding/local-growth-fund/