Kirkby town centre redevelopment finally gets start date

The long-awaited redevelopment of Kirkby town centre has been given a start date of December this year after St Modwen and Knowsley Council agreed a way forward for the scheme.

St Modwen bought the town centre plots from Tesco in 2015 for £36m, and secured planning permission for a Morrison’s supermarket along with a 20,000 sq ft Home Bargains and a KFC.

However, there has been little sign of work starting on site, despite demolition completing and the developer lining up contractor GMI to deliver the scheme, as revealed by Place North West last year.

This led Knowsley Council to step in in May this year, with leader Graham Morgan arguing Knowsley had “waited too long” for work to begin. The deal to buy the site was concluded with St Modwen in July, with the leader of the council criticising the developer for being “extremely cautious” to proceed.

Now, under the terms of the deal, a development management agreement has been signed with St Modwen which will allow works to begin next month on the £21.5m scheme.

Knowsley will still acquire the sites, which include land north of Cherryfield Drive, the St Chads Parade shopping centre, and a cleared development plot, but will enter into an agreement with St Modwen to deliver the planning permission it secured in 2017.

The agreement will leave St Modwen responsible for leasing further space at the development, while the developer will proceed as planned with GMI as contractor to deliver the scheme.

The council said it “had no option but to proceed” with the deal, “bound by the position of St Modwen which has existing exclusive rights over the sites, to ensure that the development is carried out without further delay which would be likely to result in detriment to the local area and local economy.

“There is no other site of equivalent scale in the town centre that can be delivered in the same timeframe at the same cost whether by private acquisition or by utilising CPO powers,” added the council.

“There would be little benefit in the council undertaking such a development from scratch in an alternative area as any new scheme would fail through competition with the current site.”

St Modwen was also named as the council’s partner for a leisure scheme on the former town centre library site, having lined up Reel as cinema operator.

Your Comments

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This looks nothing like a “town centre”. This is a car-dominated retail park and will do more harm to Kirkby than good.

By Anonymous

It might be a retail park style lay out but honestly more harm than good? Have you been to kirkby? It desperately needs a large supermarket that’s the central element of this scheme and also is lacking in any leisure developments so the cinema and the associated business that will attract once open is also very welcome.

By Anonymous

Retail parks are better as they offer better parking than town centres.

By Floyd

Kirkby is a 1950s ‘new town’ one of the first in the country, and developed exclusively by Liverpool City Council. As such its ‘ town centre’ had to be created from scratch. The surviving bits of this are quite interesting as 1950s architecture. I agree with the previous commentator though. Kirkby needs a supermarket and leisure facilities. The districts of Kirkby, Westvale, Southdene, Tower Hill and Northwood need better facilities too. These are clearly districts of the wider Liverpool City Region. At least with the centre of the four districts being smaller than traditional town centres Kirkby can never suffer the decline of otherwise larger towns. Concentrate on providing better facilities for the residents, and make sure the buses are good to all districts and link with the TWO (including the new one) rail stations.

By Roscoe

About time kirkby had a supermarket think it will do wonders for the town centre. Hopefully a influx of new retailers. Kirkby needs different retail shops. Mens clothing, Health shops, florist, the list goes on !!! Its a gold mine for new retailers. Can’t vision it but when complete will be the go to place. Bars , Morrisons, cinema, new college. Fantastic other towns wont be happy with it tuff we been waiting 10 years. Kirkby on the map

By Dave

Only go to kirkby for the NHS centre or a trip to Specsavers in kirkby town centre . This new development is much needed. Congratulations KIRKBY

By Claire

Great news that work is going to start again!

However this is only the tip of the iceberg in the battle that Kirkby residents face.

It is clear that the biggest demand in Kirkby is for a supermarket however the current planning proposals do not include the cinema or associated leisure/food outlets we’ve also been promised and which are desperately needed alongside any retail development to bring diversity and a night time offer back to Kirkby. See…

Plus, there is the small point of a study Knowsley Council were provided a number of years ago which states that building north of the town centre prior to developing other areas could be detrimental to the existing town centre with the possibility that further redevelopment would never materialise, quote below.

“Developing the foodstore in the north permits only a small amount of comparison floorspace to be built alongside at phase 1 (Option 1). In this circumstance phase 1 would be expected to let but with a detrimental effect on the existing town centre, as key retailers relocate to the new space or face increased competition. This would harm the existing centre and the prospects of attracting sufficient retailer interest in phase 2. Thus the scheme would not be viable in its entirety”
Kirkby Town Centre Regeneration – Supplementary Town
Centre and Retail Statement – Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners

Phase 1, option 1 referenced above is larger than the currently proposed and approved scheme.
Phase 2 referenced in the above is to build on land south of the town centre.

There’s clearly a hell of a lot of work still to be done to provide Kirkby with the vibrant town centre it deserves!

By Lee Sutton

Thank goodness! A town of over 55,000 people and no supermarket. Kirkby has been a cash cow for Knowsley council for too long.

By Vicky doran

Said it before say it again be careful what you wish for a supermarket will make the town centre into more of a ghost town when local shops can’t compete and shut down

By D hogg

St Modwen get rewarded for not performing with a development management role and the council Execs who conceived the original deal structure meaning they are tied to St Modwen plough on regardless. Everyone’s a winner!

By BDay

It’s so depressing to go shopping in Kirkby town cantre we need a supermarket like asda or sainsburys we don’t need a cinama we need a bingo for the old folk and work for the taxi drivers

the market designed wrong why couldn’t thay leave the market like it was i get flustrated trying to find the a stall go looking for I end up going round in circles so anno

By David wockenforth

In the name of development get it built

By Michael McSissy

Please KMBC let this be true and not ANOTHER election ploy we’ve heard this before, just before the last election we got shiny leaflets telling us exactly the same story …..

By Tracey Davo

Am a kirkby resident we need a 20000sq bargain booze side to side with morrisons.

By Jed

is morrison still coming

By billy

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