Morrisons Kirkby
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said it will invest up to £15m in Kirkby town centre

Kirkby lines up £15m regeneration boost

Sarah Townsend

Liverpool City Region is to invest £10m and a potential further £5m in the long-awaited regeneration of Kirkby town centre, following the purchase of developer St Modwen’s assets by the local authority this year.

The £21.5m regeneration scheme comprises a 45,000 sq ft Morrisons supermarket, nine retail units, two drive-through restaurants, a petrol station and linked car parking.

St Modwen bought the site from Tesco in 2015 and secured planning permission for the Morrison’s along with a 20,000 sq ft Home Bargains and a KFC. However, the scheme suffered delays in its delivery, despite demolition completing and the developer lining up contractor GMI to oversee the build.

In July, Knowsley Council bought St Modwen’s assets for £43.8m, in what the council describes as its largest ever investment and the first time in the town’s history that the council has owned and managed town centre assets.

This week, Metro mayor Steve Rotherham announced that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will inject £10m into kickstarting the regeneration project. The authority has also set aside a potential £5m of additional funding to be deployed as the scheme progresses.

Cllr. Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “The people of Kirkby have waited long enough for the regeneration of their town centre. The private sector has failed to bring forward the development it has promised for almost 20 years and that’s why we stepped in.”

The properties purchased by Knowsley in the summer include land north of Cherryfield Drive, the St Chads Parade shopping centre including 87 shops, and a cleared development plot spanning 12.4 acres of land. St Modwen continues to oversee the regeneration under a development agreement with Knowsley and will be responsible for leasing the retail units.

The city region combined authority said work on the new retail element of the scheme would commence next week. Meanwhile, progress is being made on plans to deliver a cinema and associated food and drink outlets on the former Kirkby Library site on Newtown Gardens.

The council is also drawing up plans to purchase the Knowsley Community College site on Cherryfield Drive and facilitate the college’s ambitions to open a new facility in the town centre.

The entire regeneration project is expected to create 500 new jobs in Kirkby and contribute a £15.3m boost to the local economy each year.

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‘Blummin ‘eck it looks like Venice!

By Andy

£3.5m per acre for a retail park in a low spend area not on a major through route. You can picture St Modwen laughing their way to the bank.

By Public Sector Funds

Another exciting retail park for Liverpool!

By Anonymous

I’m pleased Liverpool CR is getting behind Kirkby, and Knowsley is pushing the town up their priorities list.
We need a similar proactive approach in Skem!

By Liverpolitan

You do have to congratulate St. Modwens advisors in securing such an incredible financial deal. Maybe also have to question the suitability of elected member statements as part of these articles when they are released during the Purdah period – somewhat unusual. I understand why the Council would intervene (at any cost) given previous failed initiatives here, and the community deserve it. However, I’m not sure about the rationale for city region investment – presumably to make the scheme viable, but then shouldn’t they question if the sponsor effectively overpaid for the site. Lots of questions and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

By Kirkby supporter

This City Region owes it to Kirkby. Kirkby was a creation of interventionist policies in the 1950s. The City Region is effectively the successor of the City Council which used to act outside its borders to rehouse massive numbers of people when they condemned their houses. The people of Kirkby were uprooted from central areas of Liverpool to create a community with a great spirit, against all the odds, but with few of the advantages. Kirkby needs better central facilities and it is the job of the wider city authority to now help see this through.

By Liverpolitan

According to certain source’s allegedly the council do not own the whole of the ‘aquired’ site’s by St Modwen therefore, the council do not own the whole of the town itself. Also, regarding where they intend to build / develope a cinema complex was an area that was still owned by KMBC so why wasn’t this done before? However, according to information planning permission is still to be forwarded for this to be permitted.
As Kirkby is the largest town within Knowsley and has and is still having more housing built, which has seen a rise in residential figure’s (2016-2018) of over 8000, as many feel it is time much more was developed within the town centre itself to prevent residents having to shop outside the town they pay council tax to reside in. It makes economic sense for Kirkby and the people of the town. We will wait to see what happens.

By Ms A Burgin