Knowsley Council’s significant progress in delivering against its existing priorities and addressing the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are helping prepare the Borough for a strong long-term recovery.
The Council’s Cabinet considered progress against the Borough’s Corporate Plan at its meeting on 16 June 2021.
The report contained a detailed review of progress in delivering its corporate and COVID-19 recovery priorities in the year ending March 2021.
The review noted that the Council had continued to respond effectively to COVID-19 and is now focussing on further understanding the impact of the pandemic on local residents and businesses. This detailed understanding will help to ensure that the Council’s COVID recovery plans have a timely and substantial impact for local communities.
Despite the significant challenges of dealing with the impact of COVID and the UK’s exit from the EU, the Council has continued to deliver successfully against its existing priorities, including those related to education, adult and children’s social care, health and wellbeing, business growth, jobs, housing, and environmental sustainability.
Areas of progress since the last Corporate Plan update in November 2020 include:-
- An extra care housing scheme at Jackson Gardens in Stockbridge Village has opened, meaning that there are now eight extra care schemes across the Borough supporting residents to live independently
- Progress has continued on the construction of Kirkby’s new town centre retail development, which remains on target for its summer 2021 opening
- Further shopfront improvements and new food and beverage units have been delivered in Huyton Village, while funding has been secured and master-planning is under way to advance the regeneration of the seven-acre Huyton Village Centre site
- Work continues on the Shakespeare North Playhouse and the surrounding area, including improvements to the railway station and public realm across Prescot Town Centre
- 120 small and medium-sized enterprises have completed a Business Growth Programme to increase growth capacity, turnover, and staffing with a further 23 businesses part-way through the Programme
- Over 300 local employers have so far engaged with the Kickstart Programme (providing six-month placements for people aged between 16 and 24), with 520 jobs created
- The implementation of the Climate Emergency Action Plan has continued, including a £5m scheme to replace almost 20,000 streetlights with low energy LED lighting and the planting of more than 3,000 trees.
This continued progress places the Borough in a strong position to work with local communities and strategic partners as local communities look towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a further commitment to this recovery, two funds were established in March 2021 to support residents and businesses. Firstly, the Council established a £2.5m Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund, to support residents, while a £6.4m Knowsley Better Together Recovery Fund was also established to support businesses and the town centres to recover.
Councillor Graham Morgan, the Leader of Knowsley Council, said: “The Council has continued to work at an exceptional pace – just as we have throughout the pandemic. The last year has definitely shown the strong community spirit and partnership working in our Borough. People and organisations have come together to help and support one another wherever they can.
“Despite the very real challenges which still face us all, it gives me great pleasure to say that this report demonstrates that the Council has continued to make great progress against each of the key priorities in our Corporate Plan.
“I am confident that we will achieve those goals – just as I am confident that we will get through the current crisis. By all pitching in together and thinking about the bigger picture, we can continue to build on the successes in this report.”