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Knowsley Council offers to buy Kirkby town centre

Knowsley Council has announced it has started negotiations to buy Kirkby town centre in a bid to kick-start regeneration plans.

The local authority has today (24 May) confirmed that it has started negotiations with current owners St. Modwen with a view to purchasing the company’s assets in Kirkby town centre.

The move comes after previous regeneration plans by St. Modwen and other private sector organisations have been delayed, prompting speculation about the town centre.

St. Modwen purchased Kirkby town centre from Tesco in 2015 and has since secured planning permission and signed up major retailers including Morrisons, Home Bargains and KFC, as well as progressed demolition work.

A start date for work to build the new retail units has not been confirmed to date.

Given St. Modwen’s extensive land holdings in Kirkby town centre, the council said it currently has limited powers to ensure the development progresses as planned.

‘This council has been calling on the private sector to regenerate Kirkby town centre for a long time, but enough is enough,’ said could leader, Cllr Graham Morgan.

‘We have worked tirelessly to encourage and support the private sector to deliver on their plans for Kirkby.  However, despite our best efforts, the redevelopment of the town centre still hasn’t happened and it’s quite clear that we need to find a different model.  The people of Kirkby deserve more than this.

“We have worked closely to encourage St. Modwen to push on with their plans but, despite major names already being signed up, they remain extremely cautious and have still not confirmed a start date. We have waited too long and it’s time to move on,’ added Cllr Morgan.

spokesperson for St. Modwen commented: ‘I can confirm that Knowsley Council and St. Modwen are in talks regarding Knowsley Council making an offer for St. Modwen’s interest in Kirkby town centre. The discussions, which are still ongoing, are positive and productive, with both organisations hopeful of providing an update with even more details once, and if terms are agreed.

‘The agreement would see Knowsley Council and St. Modwen work in partnership to unlock and speed up the future development and allow St. Modwen to deliver on its promise to the residents of Kirkby and the surrounding community. Knowsley Council has been actively looking to support the scheme and is pleased with the discussions to date and what it means for the prospects for Kirkby.’

Photo by Free-Photos (Pixabay)

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