Kirkby’s Reel Cinema approved

Plans for a six-screen cinema on the site of the town’s former library have been given the go-ahead by Knowsley Council more than three years after Reel Cinemas agreed to operate the venue.

Developer St Modwen Properties proposed including a cinema for Kirkby in the masterplan for the town centre published in 2016. The following April, operator Reel Cinemas signed up as the anchor tenant for the Cherryfield Drive development.

Knowsley Council formally appointed St Modwen as its development partner in October 2017.

St Modwen at that time owned several assets in Kirkby having made several acquisitions from Tesco in 2015 for £35.8m.

To make way for the cinema scheme, demolition of the former library, one of the assets in the developer’s ownership, began in January 2018.

However, following a series of delays, Knowsley Council bought St Modwen’s Kirkby assets for £43.8m in July 2019 to progress the town centre regeneration project.

Knowsley then lodged plans for the leisure development, designed by Saunders Architecture + Urban Design, in August.

The three-storey, 34,000 sq ft venue will also feature three restaurant or bar units.

The professional team for the project includes Fairhurst as the civil and structural engineer, Cudd Bentley as the M&E consultant, cost consultant Gleeds and Transport Planning Associates. The planner is John Francis Planning.

Elsewhere in Kirkby, contractors broke ground in January on a retail scheme featuring Morrisons, Home Bargains and KFC.

Reel has become a go-to cinema operator for towns looking to refresh their retail and leisure offering, with plans at various stages in Blackburn, Burnley, and Skelmersdale, and cinemas now open in Chorley and at Rochdale Riverside.

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I will be pleased to see this come to fruition in Kirkby. I was in Chorley a couple of weeks ago and the cinema looks great around the new landscaped square.

By Red Squirrel

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