St Modwen signs Kirkby regeneration agreement

Published on: Thursday, 24-March-2016

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 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 paves the way now 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 hope shortly to able to announce who the supermarket operator will be, 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.”

The Chief Executive of Knowsley Council, Mike Harden, said: “It is great news that we have taken this significant step forward in the regeneration of Kirkby town centre. We can now work closely with St Modwen on the specific plans to develop the retail and leisure offer to really enhance the town centre and I look forward to those plans being shared with our residents and businesses over the coming months.”

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 has 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 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 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 centre’s overall performance.