St Modwen says it has started work on minor improvements to the retail core of Kirkby town centre, but has yet to submit a planning application for the long-awaited main redevelopment project.
The developer paid £35.8m to buy a large part of the town centre from Tesco in November 2015 and is drawing up plans for a 100,000 sq ft expansion of retail space. There will be a supermarket and about 10 new shops.
The town centre has suffered from an increase in empty units and lack of investment after a series of regeneration proposals stalled. St Modwen signed a development agreement with Knowsley Council in March this year and has drawn up a masterplan by Saunders Partnership Architects. A planning application is due to be submitted later this year.
In the meantime, St Modwen said it has started an eight-week refurbishment programme and agreed a number of new lettings. Work includes replacing plaster work under shop canopies, painting windows at first floor level, removing old and unused fixtures, painting columns and brickwork and adding planting.
Three new tenants have opened in St Chad’s Parade: Owens Quality Meat, Kirkby Nails and European Deli. Greggs Bakery signed a new five-year lease after completing a £100,000 refit.
B&M Bargains will soon be opening in the 18,000 sq ft former Co-operative Food unit on St Chad’s Parade, relocating from its smaller existing store on Cherryfield Drive next to the bus station, which will close.
Mike Matthews, town centre manager for St Modwen, said: “We are delighted to welcome new and existing tenants to Kirkby Town Centre. Once the leases have been granted we hope to see new lettings fill the vacant units, bring a wider choice for shoppers and, in many cases, enable local businesses to grow and relocate to bigger premises.
“Shoppers really welcome the changes we are making and are voting with their feet as footfall figures top 125,000 people visiting Kirkby Town Centre each week.”
Colliers International and Cheetham & Mortimer are the letting agents.