▼Introduction to Knowsley
Nick Kavanagh, executive director for regeneration, economy and skills at Knowsley Council, outlines the vision for the borough's economic growth.
In Knowsley we have an enviable reputation for enterprise, business growth and an innovative approach to regeneration. We have a long-term plan to take forward innovative changes to create a 'borough of choice' and make Knowsley a place where people chose to live, work, visit and invest in.
Major changes are underway in the borough – new homes, new shopping centres, new schools. And that's only the start of the story. Independent reports show our economy is performing well, with a 35% increase in employment growth in the ten years to 2008. This is the largest increase in Merseyside by far and a level of growth that exceeded both regional and national figures.
Some of our recent major regeneration projects include a £150m Building Schools for the Future project, which has seen all the borough's secondary schools replaced with state-of-the-art Centres for Learning. And more recently, our building control department played a crucial role in helping deliver the new £250m Whiston Hospital – built while hospital staff continued to provide vital health services within the same site.
At the moment we are delivering a number of high-profile and life-changing regeneration projects within our towns. In Stockbridge Village, a major overhaul of the village centre is planned, with a new supermarket, swimming pool, library, primary school, children's centre, play facilities and more. We are also looking to secure large scale regeneration for Kirkby town centre, which could incorporate improvements to the retail offer, green spaces, sports and leisure facilities. We are currently consulting with our residents and businesses to ask them what they want to see in the new plans for the town.
At Knowsley we pride ourselves on going above and beyond our statutory duties to provide a quality service to both businesses and residents to support and aid investment and growth in the borough.
Over the last year our Knowsley Works team has supported more than 2,000 residents back into employment and we've worked closely with local businesses including Jaguar Land Rover, Vertex, Asda, QVC and Knowsley Housing Trust. Our Knowsley Apprentice scheme has seen more than 200 young people gain three year placements learning trades within local businesses.
As you look through this special edition of Place North West, I'm sure you'll find many reasons why Knowsley has attracted some of the biggest names in business and why it's an exciting time to invest here. If you think we could help you or your company, contact us now; you'll find us ready to talk business right from the start.