Kirkby secures £20m in Levelling Up funding

Government announces Kirkby town centre will receive £20m of Levelling Up funding as part of a £1.1bn package for 55 UK towns. Tony McDonough reports

Kirkby, Morrisons
A 45,000 sq ft Morrisons superstore was built in Kirkby town centre


Knowsley Council has secured £20m of Government funding for the ongoing regeneration of Kirkby town centre.

On the eve of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester Michael Gove revealed 55 UK towns would share £1.1bn in the latest round of Levelling Up funding. 

In January this year Knowsley Council was successful in winning £15.3m of Levelling UP cash to improvements to Halewood, including an expansion of community facilities, green space and walking and cycling connectivity.

However, there was disappointment that time around when bids for Huyton (£20m) and Prescot (£8m) were unsuccessful.

Backed with funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA), Knowsley has already embarked on a regeneration of Kirkby town centre. It acquired the town centre for £33.8m, with the CA providing £10m. It then set about a redevelopment project.

This has led to a 45,000 sq ft Morrisons superstore, a petrol station, car park, a 20,000 sq ft Home Bargains and Taco Bell and KFC drive-thru restaurants. The CA then allocated a further £2.8m to support the development of a multi-screen cinema

In June last year LBN reported plans for a ‘sustainable travel hub’ for the town centre that could lead to the creation of up to 350 jobs. The CA has since provided £2.2m of funding to  enhance the existing multi-storey car park as a key gateway into the town centre.

This latest funding will see the establishment of a Town Board that will bring together community leaders, employers, local authorities, and the local MP to devise and deliver a long-term plan.


Cllr Graham Morgan
Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council


It will receive a 10-year £20m endowment-style fund to be spent on priorities such as regenerating local high streets and town centres or securing public safety.

This board will have a suite of regeneration powers to unlock more private sector investment by auctioning empty high street shops, reforming licensing rules on shops and restaurants. It will also support more housing in the town centre.

Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “We welcome the £20m investment in Kirkby, which is one of the towns in our borough which has been forgotten about by the national Government as far as previous funding support is concerned.

“We didn’t have any advance notice that funding was being allocated to Kirkby and received the notification via the media.

“While we are pleased to see Kirkby being supported and will make the best possible use of this funding, our recent levelling up bids had focused on Huyton and Prescot – both of which have been overlooked yet again.

“As well as Kirkby, Huyton and Prescot need Government investment to level up and align them to other towns across the country.

“The emphasis on this latest round of funding is local people and ensuring the investment is used to address their priorities.  We are continuing to deliver the priorities identified by our communities who will once again be pivotal in deciding how this latest investment will be used.”

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