St Modwen has signed a development agreement with Knowsley Council to begin work on the regeneration of Kirkby town centre, following the £35.8m acquisition of the site from Tesco in November 2015.
An outline scheme has been designed which will comprise a supermarket, and in the region of 100,000 sq ft of new retail floorspace.
The development will be a heavily scaled back version of the 2011 proposal for 90 stores in 300,000 sq ft by Tesco, before it aborted the Kirkby project as part of a cost-cutting plan to stop major new store development.
The new masterplan by Saunders Partnership Architects shows 10 new shops and a food store.
St Modwen said it was in advanced talks with food retailers to anchor the new scheme. Projects director Paul Batho said: “From the minute we acquired Kirkby town centre we have made it our priority to drive forward immediate improvements and this agreement with Knowsley Council now paves the way for wider, more significant change in the centre. Our plans will see the strengthening of the existing town centre and the provision of new accommodation to be developed to accommodate the requirements of modern retailers. We have received very strong interest from both retailers and leisure operators, so much so we hope to also be able to introduce a leisure offer to the town which would be anchored by a cinema.
“We will be undertaking public consultation on our plans in the next few months and we are on track to submit a formal planning application later this year.”
Cllr Mike Murphy, Knowsley Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “The council and our partners have delivered major multi-million pound improvements to the town centre and wider Kirkby area in recent years. I’m now very much looking forward to working with St Modwen to bring forward the much-needed retail and leisure developments which will transform the town centre for the benefit of our residents, businesses and visitors.”