Plans for new cinema on hold as costs rise

Plans for a new six-screen cinema complex in Kirkby are on hold due to the rising costs of the multi-million pound project. Tony McDonough reports

Kirkby Cinema
Image of a new cinema planned for Kirkby town centre


A project to build a new six-screen cinema complex in Kirkby town centre has been put on hold amid rising construction costs.

Quoting Cllr Tony Brennan, Knowsley Council’s regeneration and economic development cabinet member, Place North West reports the costs of the scheme have gone up by £5m.

It says the council had planned to borrow money to complete the cinema, part of a wider regeneration of the town centre. It had calculated it would get its money back from rents paid by the cinema and restaurant operators.

However, this was based on interest rates in early 2022. Amid wider economic turmoil rates have now risen, changing the economies of the project. Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) has pledged £2.8m towards the build.

Cllr Brennan said: “Pausing our plans for the cinema project has not been an easy decision to make, but one that we have been unable to shy away from, given the current financial circumstances in the country.

“We are facing rising costs across the board, a level of inflation we haven’t seen for almost 40 years, and the negative impact of recent Government policy announcements, which are seriously destabilising the financial markets.

“It’s infuriating that the actions of this government in the space of just a few weeks have turned everything upside down and forced us to put our plans on hold. We planned to start the scheme before the end of this year and now we face having to wait for markets to calm and for greater economic certainty.”

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Knowsley Council acquired Kirkby 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.

Planning permission for the cinema was approved in November 2020 with Reel Cinemas previously  confirmed as the operator of the venue.

“I want to stress that our ambition for Kirkby, and indeed for Knowsley as a whole, has not diminished – and, to be absolutely clear, we aren’t writing this project off – we are pausing it,” added Cllr Brennan.

Likely to be built by Morgan Sindall Construction, the 34,000 sq ft cinema would comprise three storeys and three restaurants. It is located on the site of the old Kirkby Library, off Cherryfield Drive.

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