St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has signed an agreement with Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council which sets out a joint commitment to begin the development of Kirkby Town Centre.
Following St. Modwen’s £35.8m acquisition in November 2015 the team has been working closely with the local authority to develop plans for the Town Centre. An outline scheme has been designed which will comprise of a supermarket, and in the region of 100,000 sq ft of new retail floorspace. The outline scheme (shown below) has already seen significant interest from a number of national retailers and St. Modwen is in advanced talks with major food retailers to anchor the new scheme.
Commenting on the latest developments St. Modwen’s 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.”
Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Mike Murphy, said: “I’m delighted that we are making real progress towards the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre.
“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.”
Within weeks of the acquisition St. Modwen appointed Mike Matthews as the Shopping Centre Manager to take responsibility for managing the day-to-day running of the Town Centre. In March, the re-instatement of three hours free parking proved a hit with shoppers and retailers alike.
A further appointment of a maintenance operative in February has seen immediate improvements to vacant units to make them more appealing to potential occupiers, the installation of new litter bins, new recycling facilities and the replacement of old planters with fresh new ones for Spring.
Commenting on the progress to date Mike Matthews said: “The people of Kirkby need and deserve to see improvements made to the Town Centre as quickly as possible and it has been our priority to make a change from day one.
“St. Modwen has made a significant long-term commitment to this town and of course it will take time to deliver the bigger overall development plans of which this agreement signifies the start. In the meantime, we are going to make as many changes as possible to improve the experience for shoppers, the business opportunities for retailers and to ensure that Kirkby has a town centre it can be proud of once again.”
The Town Centre team is also in the process of installing a new electronic footfall counting system which will provide valuable information from which to benchmark future performance. Weekly performance data from a number of tenants is being collated so that the team can monitor the town centre’s overall performance.