Kirkby war bunkers to be redeveloped

Plans have been unveiled to redevelop a disused World War Two bunker in Kirkby for business use.

The former high explosives store on Knowsley Industrial Park, and adjoining land previously used as the car park of the Kodak factory, will become the new headquarters of community transport company Your Travel Borough Wide.

The council said the bunker on Draw Well Road currently extends to around 10,000 sq ft, but up to 20,000 sq ft of space could be created following redevelopment.

Knowsley Council said this would allow other businesses to move to the site alongside the bus operator, including a garage involved in servicing the Your Travel fleet and a new bus franchise.

The bunker scheme has been made possible after Knowsley Council signed a 25-year agreement allowing Knowsley Development Trust, which runs Your Travel, to regenerate the site.

The trust has run North Mersey Business Centre on Knowsley Industrial Park, home to more than 100 small firms, for over 20 years. Any profit made at the centre is put back into other regeneration projects in the borough.

Steve Dumbell, chief executive of the Knowsley Development Trust, said: "This scheme is another important step forward for the trust. Our aim is to redevelop the site as a centre of excellence for transport and logistics in the borough.

"On the back of the project, we will also be looking to improve the environment and facilities for businesses located around the Draw Well Road area."

The council said Your Travel Borough Wide was established by the trust in 2004 with an aim at meeting the transport needs of community groups unable to afford the private-sector alternative.

Starting out with six minibuses, the company's fleet has expanded to 30 vehicles including ten coaches and six 55-seat yellow school buses.

These vehicles now handle more than 700,000 passenger journeys a year, and have helped Your Travel to create 26 driver and passenger assistant jobs for local people.

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Extra reinforcement that is what is needed!

By Davey

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