Plans are submitted for demolition of Knowsley Council buildings, paving the way for the transformation of Huyton town centre and a £50m-a-year economic boost. Tony McDonough reports
Knowsley Council’s development partner has submitted plans for the demolition of council buildings in Huyton to make way for a huge regeneration project.
Following a series of site investigations, Genr8 Kajima Regeneration has submitted a planning application to the council to demolish the authority’s Municipal building and Annexe, the Computer Centre and other assets on a seven-acre site.
This will pave the way for a 10-year development plan to create a new Huyton village centre. It will see the delivery of a new mixed-used commercial district with opportunities for a hotel, office space, co-working centre, and residential accommodation.
There will also be creation of a new village green which will connect improved public spaces, an improved station gateway area and high quality event spaces on Derby Road. And there will be improvements to road, bus, and rail links.
Huyton Library and Nutgrove Villa are not part of the plans and will not be affected. It is estimated the development could bring up to 1,700 new jobs and a £50m per year spending boost to the local economy.
Knowsley Council staff will occupy some of the new office space. Across the Mersey, Wirral Growth Company, of which Wirral Council is a partner, has just delivered two new office buildings costing £75m. One of the buildings will be occupied by the council.
Those buildings earmarked for demolition are inefficient in terms of energy use and size and require multi-million pounds of investment to bring them up to modern day standards.
Securing planning permission will ensure that the Council is ‘construction ready’ so that works can begin to progress with these plans as soon as funding has been secured.
In an interview with LBN in October 2022, Knowsley Council’s head of major development Tony Clark, said: “We also want to create office space for new business or those looking to expand or relocate. This will be a whole new commercial district.”
Speaking this week, Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, added “We are doing all that we can to ensure that our plans can commence quickly once we have secured funding for Huyton’s development.
“Despite the knock-backs we have faced to date with our funding bids for Huyton, we remain committed to delivering our ambitious scheme in Huyton for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.
“They too deserve modern facilities like other areas. The Government has already identified Knowsley as a priority 1 area for the funding, yet Huyton has persistently been overlooked.
“We will continue to lobby the Government, highlighting why Huyton needs to be levelled up.”
Earlier this week Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram hailed the opening of a 7,000 sq ft space for creatives in the former Boots store in Huyton town centre. It was part of the Combined Authority’s £6m campaign to revitalise high streets and communities.
The transformation of a disused former Boots store into a space for artists and creative small businesses is the final project to be completed as part of the Town Centre Fund.
“Empty shop premises are being transformed to create new spaces fit for the 21st century, high streets are being updated and important infrastructure has been put in place,” said Mr Rotheram.