The council aims to launch a procurement process in January to appoint a development partner to build it an 81,000 sq ft headquarters in Huyton to kickstart a wider regeneration of the town.
Knowsley Council’s cabinet will meet next Wednesday to approve a 10-year delivery plan to regenerate Huyton, building on the Allies and Morrison architects-designed Huyton Village Centre masterplan it adopted in 2017.
The draft plan sets out a programme of 53 projects for phased delivery over the next decade. The main project would be a redevelopment of Huyton’s seven-acre Civic Campus site, where the council currently has its home, into a £123m mixed-use commercial district, “anchored by a civic office” and set around a ‘village green’ incorporating the relocated Huyton Cenotaph, one of the borough’s three World War I memorials.
The council’s proposed corporate headquarters would span 81,000 sq ft and consolidate Knowsley’s 1,200 staff that are currently housed in six buildings across the site.
The Yorkon building, in particular – which is earmarked for demolition – is in poor condition and does not provide fit-for-purpose office accommodation, according to council documents. “The demolition of this building should also now be accelerated,” the documents state.
A formal tender process to appoint a development partner to delivery the scheme is expected to launch in January, subject to cabinet approval next week. This is likely to last up to nine months, after which time the council will produce a business case for the project and recommendations for the rationalisation of its existing estate.
The 10-year delivery plan groups project proposals across four opportunity areas in the town, the proposed Commercial District – the most valuable element of the strategy that has the potential to bring £53m of economic benefit to the town, according to the council – and three others:
- Derby Road “High Street” Anchor – the demolition and redevelopment of the multi-storey car park and adjoining land to create a leisure-led mixed-use anchor to Derby Road. This could potentially incorporate the relocation of Huyton Library with an expanded community and cultural offer, leisure (such as a cinema) and residential offer, and a short-stay car park and cycle hub
- Station Gateway – the redevelopment of the rail gateway to create an improved sense of arrival into Huyton, incorporating a new public space and station presence on the village side of the railway line. This scheme would be anchored by the remodelling of Nutgrove Villa to create a health and wellbeing hub facing the station
- Derby Road Signature Street – a streetscape scheme intended to reinforce Derby Road’s role as the spine of the Village Centre and the focus of activity and footfall. This scheme will be key to improving connectivity to the rail and bus stations and providing a setting to help secure wider investment, the documents state.
The four priority schemes would be complemented by a broader placemaking framework for Huyton Village centre including public realm, street improvements, landscaping, public art, improved connections and walkways and other elements.
“Together, the projects seek to realise the masterplan’s aspirations to transform Huyton Village Centre by building on its strengths and assets (excellent connectivity, strong growing catchment, and status as civic heart of Knowsley) to develop its multifunctional role as a commercial, social and service centre, and meet the local community’s everyday shopping needs,” Knowsley Council said.
A public consultation would be launched in early 2021 if the cabinet approves the draft regeneration plan next week.
Since the masterplan – a supplementary planning document – was adopted in 2017, Knowsley has implemented several fast-track early-stage projects in Huyton including shopfront improvements, CCTV, and other interventions to encourage visitors, businesses and investors to the town.
In September, Knowsley unveiled proposals to knock down The Venue, a former events and arts space on Civic Way, to create a 57-space temporary car park, and said at the time this could pave the way for further redevelopment of the site at a later stage.