Liverpool City Council has unveiled a plan to improve the historical retail heart of the Walton district in the north of the city and has secured £1m to start the project.
The money was awarded by the Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund and will go towards the development of a 10-year masterplan for Walton’s County District.
The area encompasses the district centre of County and Walton Road, in the County and Kirkdale wards, close to the football stadiums of Anfield and Goodison Park – the latter of which is expected to undergo a mixed-use redevelopment once Everton Football Club relocates to a new stadium to be constructed at Bramley-Moore Dock.
The L4 community lies three miles north of Liverpool city centre and is connected to it by the A59 (County Road) which is currently undergoing a £4.5m upgrade.
The focus of the regeneration strategy is to “remember, reimagine and revitalise”, Liverpool City Council said this week. It has teamed up with local stakeholders including Everton FC and Merseyside Police to deliver seven ‘kickstarter’ projects.
- Establishing the vision – setting out the placemaking and other ambitions of the district centre for the next 10 years.
- Enterprise, employability and training – Creating a space for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow in partnership with Everton FC’s charitable arm Everton in the Community.
- Creating a community hub – refurbishing Spellow Library to create a multi-service inclusive space for the community, providing adult learning, children services and support for businesses.
- Setting up a business fund – a small grant scheme for businesses to improve their operations, properties and to re-open following Covid-19. This is expected to launch in the spring.
- Establishing a ‘County Community Police Team’ – the initial £1m will help to set up a dedicated police team for businesses, residents and the community in partnership with Merseyside Police.
- Building a creative community – public body Culture Liverpool will work with artists to bring art, creativity and community cohesion to the District Centre.
- ‘Christmas on County’ – the fund will aim to bring a Christmas display for the community this December.
The £6m Town Centre Fund was set up to provide up to £1m for each of the city-region’s six local authorities, to support plans to revitalise town centres.
Real estate consultancy Avison Young prepared the strategic vision for the County District Centre, taking in to consideration nearby development opportunities including a potential redevelopment of Everton Library – the council is inviting bids from parties interested in creating a new community or commercial use for the library.
Principal Nicola Rigby said: “The vision will shape, and sits across, a significant programme of activity and investment.
“This programme of change targeted at the high street, will put enterprise, health, wellbeing and opportunity for local people at its heart. We’re proud to be partnering with Liverpool City Council to help achieve sustainable regeneration within this important community and area of the city.
“We began working on this project prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the delayed launch has enabled further consultation with stakeholders and additional analysis, to ensure that the vision responds appropriately to this context.”
Cllr Wendy Simon, acting mayor of Liverpool, said: “There is a proud history in the County and Walton Road community that deserves a bright future – and the people who live and work there now have a golden opportunity to shape that story.
“Thanks to the Town Centre Fund the city council has been able to marshall all the key players in the area to devise a long-term masterplan and identify some creative solutions that will have an immediate impact for local businesses and residents.”
And Richard Kenyon, chief executive of Everton in the Community, said: “Everton FC and Everton in the Community are deeply rooted in the Walton, County and Kirkdale communities. We have been delivering programmes in the area for 33 years and in recent years, working with partners, we have invested more than £10m into transforming previously derelict sites into thriving community facilities.
“This project will allow us to further extend our work with local people and help to deliver a new district centre that will bring many exciting opportunities for people within the local community.”