Kirkby Cinema
The council acquired the site in 2019

Kirkby cinema poised for go-ahead

Neil Tague

Plans for a Reel cinema on a former library site are expected to be signed off next week as part of Knowsley Council’s redevelopment of Kirkby town centre.

The site is now vacant, and is bounded by Cherryfield Drive, with a temporary car park opposite.  The application is for a three-storey building that will house a six-screen cinema and three food & beverage units at ground floor. There will be 30 car parking spaces.

Saunders Architecture & Design is the architect for the project, with the council as its client. The professional team also includes Fairhurst as civil & structural engineer, Cudd Bentley as M&E consultant, cost consultant Gleeds and Transport Planning Associates. The planner is John Francis Planning.

Proposals for a cinema at the site were originally put forward by developer St Modwen, which held a large number of assets in the town following a £36m deal with Tesco In 2015, the supermarket group having built up assets ahead of unrealised plans for a major development linked to a proposed stadium for Everton FC in the town.

Knowsley Council last year acquired much of St Modwen’s Kirkby holdings for £44m, including the cinema site.

In a further development taken on by the local authority to trigger activity, ground was broken on a retail scheme to feature Morrison’s, Home Bargains and KFC this January.

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

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Yeah, great idea. This sector is booming at the moment.

By Sigh

But it won’t be built and opened until about summer next year…exactly when it will start ‘booming’ again. Additionally the rest of the redevelopment will be complete before this, increasing footfall in the town centre. The bar, restaurant and cafe that form the frontage of the development are welcome too, and all this will feed back to the council in both business rates and rent as they now own the land. Or they can just leave it vacant and sigh? Most of us in kirkby actually want positive redevelopment.

By Anonymous

@Sigh. Perhaps the company is planning ahead beyond COVID, which would probably be around the time when this is completed. I would be very surprised that people would not want to visit a cinema after COVID. In fact, I would almost imagine the opposite, that people will become so bored of being stuck at home, they will welcome back cinemas and outside entertainment with open arms. Better to build it now and be ready, than just do nothing and miss out

By EOD

I welcome any positive construction in this town if it benefits the local residents. We have been asking for years for this town to have life back in it. How did we go to having everything a town needs to a zombie apocalypse. This is a very positive contribution to economy, more local jobs & more happier, feature to this town.

By Anonymous