In March last year, Knowsley Council asked local residents, businesses, and visitors to Kirkby Town Centre “What makes a good town centre?”
Since that consultation, what has happened with the views you shared?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council has continued to drive forward the development of Kirkby Town Centre and the views shared through the consultation have been pivotal to informing future plans.
You said that you wanted a better choice of retail and food and drink outlets
As everybody can see, the retail development has continued to progress over the last year – Morrisons, KFC, Taco Bell, and Home Bargains are all now starting to commence the internal fit-outs of their new stores.
In addition, there has also been a number of new businesses opening their doors in Kirkby Town Centre, including a florist, children’s clothing boutique, and a butcher. And more products are now available at Kirkby Market as new stalls have opened selling everything from clothing and gifts to plants and African and Caribbean cuisine.
The Council is continuing to market Kirkby Town Centre as an attractive place to invest and hopes to welcome more new businesses, delivering exactly the wider range of options which people asked for.
You said that you wanted more leisure facilities, such as a bowling alley or cinema
Whilst Knowsley Council is continuing to advertise Kirkby to investors and operators of facilities such as a bowling alley, plans are being progressed to deliver a cinema in the town centre. An operator (Reel Cinemas), planning approval, and funding are all in place, and the Council has also generated interest in opening new food and drink outlets alongside this project.
The Council expects the building of the cinema scheme to get under way by the end of 2021.
You said that you wanted more facilities for children and young people
There is already a wide array of facilities for children and young people in Kirkby from football pitches and boxing clubs to parks, playgrounds and youth groups. Enquiries are progressing regarding potential investors who may bring further leisure facilities to the area.
You said that you wanted more housing
We have recently advertised land to the South of Cherryfield Drive for future development. We hope to attract high quality homes to the area, offering greater choice for residents in terms of size, style, budget, and eco-friendliness. As part of this scheme, we will also ensure that high quality green spaces remain available. The land is still being marketed and no developer has been selected as yet. There will be opportunities for local people to have their say as any future proposals are developed.
You said that you wanted more family-friendly events in Kirkby Town Centre
The pandemic has put a pause on events over the last year, but we have a bigger and better family programme of events scheduled for the post-lockdown period – there’s lots planned over the summer months from street performers, to the popular “Urban Beach” and face painters. Keep a look-out on www.knowsleynews.co.uk for more information as these coming events are finalised.
You asked for safety measures to be introduced in Kirkby Town Centre
We are in the process of enhancing the CCTV network covering Kirkby Town Centre. Our cameras are monitored 24/7 and provide a direct access to Merseyside Police.
You asked for free parking
Parking charges have been suspended for about a year now, and the situation is under constant review.
Councillor Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, said:
“We had a fantastic turn out to our consultation event last year and you shared lots of views and ideas about Kirkby. It is clear to see local people’s passion and enthusiasm for making Kirkby a great place to live, work, visit, and invest in. As a Kirkby resident and Councillor, I absolutely share that point of view.
As you can see, we have listened to your views and have already started to deliver them in Kirkby. Better shops and safety measures are just the start, and I’m looking forward to a packed events programme for the summer and the start of the cinema project later this year.
We remain committed to attracting more residents, businesses, and investors into Kirkby Town Centre and we have shown that we absolutely can and will deliver what we have promised. We will continue to build on what we have achieved for the benefit of everyone.”