Metro Mayor backs Kirkby regeneration with £10m cash injection

Knowsley Council is pushing ahead with a redevelopment scheme that will create 500 jobs and the City Region Combined Authority is now chipping in. Tony McDonough reports

Kirkby Town Centre
Knowsley Council leader Graham Morgan, left, with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram


Mersey Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is backing the regeneration of Kirkby town centre with a £10m cash injecting.

Coming from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Single Investment Fund, the cash will go towards a major redevelopment project that will see a 45,000 sq ft Morrisons, store, nine new retail units, two drive-thru restaurants and a petrol station.

The development, being led by Knowsley Council, will lead to almost 500 new jobs being created in Kirkby, alongside 278 construction jobs during the building phase. This will help to create an estimated £15.3m boost to the local economy each year. 

In November, the borough council completed the £43.8m purchase of developer St Modwen’s assets in Kirkby town centre which includes 87 retail units, the existing shopping centre and 12.4 acres of land for development.

Work on the scheme is due to start in the next few days and Mr Rotheram has confirmed that the Combined Authority will be stepping up to support the purchase by investing £10m. It has also set aside a potential further £5m for further regeneration of the town centre.

Mr Rotheram said: “I’m so happy to see the regeneration of the ‘Townie’ is finally happening. There have been too many false dawns caused by broken private sector promises but I’m really proud that we have been able to play a part in bringing this much-needed development to the area I grew up in.

“Devolution is all about taking back control from Westminster and shaping our own destinies. When I was elected, I promised that no borough would be left behind and it’s fantastic that, in partnership with Knowsley Council, we will see the heart put back into Kirkby again.”

Back in 2006 a project worth more than £100m was unveiled which would have see the construction of a new stadium for Everton FC and a retail park built by Tesco. However, in 2009 the plan was rejected by the Government following a public inquiry.

Knowsley Council’s purchase of St Modwen’s assets is the first time in the town’s history that the authority has owned and managed the town centre. Council leader Graham Morgan added: “The people of Kirkby have waited long enough for the regeneration of their town centre.  The private sector has failed to bring forward the development it has promised for almost 20 years and that’s why we stepped in.

“This is the largest investment which Knowsley Council has ever made, so agreeing this additional support from the Combined Authority is great news and yet more evidence of our strong partnership.  It provides us with additional reassurance that our decision to intervene in Kirkby is the right one.”

It is anticipated that the completed scheme will generate £650,000 per year in Business Rates which can then be ploughed back into key public services and support. Progress is also being made on plans to deliver a cinema and associated food and drink outlets (on the former Kirkby Library site on Newtown Gardens. 

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