Knowsley approves suite of developments

Knowsley Council has approved three key planning applications including a 132,000 sq ft headquarters for Matalan in Knowsley Industrial Park.

The headquarters will be a three-storey office building designed by Fletcher-Rae. Matalan also intends to extend its 400,000 sq ft Galaxy shed next door by 100,000 sq ft. A pension fund associated with Matalan bought shed and 46 acres of surrounding land at the former Petrolite site off Acornfield Road in late 2010 for a reported £16m from Irish investors. Matalan's board confirmed its plans to move from Skelmersdale to Knowsley in briefings held in May this year.

The second application was for the new £2.5m Kirkby Market, to be delivered by the local authority. The new market will have covered areas, easier access to stalls, public toilets, improved appearance and enhanced links to the town centre and be located on the site of the existing market, which was built in 1960.

Redevelopment work will begin after Christmas, with the new market trading in summer 2013. A temporary market next to the current facilities will operate throughout the redevelopment period.

The council was also the applicant behind the third proposal, for the £5m Kirkby Centre, which will contain a number of public services for residents. The Kirkby Suite building will be remodelled to house a library, public service desks, gallery, local history archive, a central base for Kirkby's Knowsley Works team, facilities for the Adult Disability Day Service, a café, a public meeting room, public toilets and a changing and toilet facility.

The new library and gallery will open in summer 2013, with the Kirkby Centre fully completed by December 2013.

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