development of Kirkby Town Centre
A new Tesco supermarket and stadium for Everton FC
The proposed Tesco Everton development of Kirkby town centre represents a significant opportunity for Kirkby and wider Merseyside.
As an MP I have no formal role in the planning process. However, I believe I have a duty to ensure that concerns of residents are addressed and I have met a large number of residents’ groups recently with that aim in mind.
On 24 April 08, I published a letter outlining my position in support of the proposed development. You can read the full letter here. This follows a consultation exercise I ran with local residents and representative organisations (more details).
I believe that this proposal represents a once in a generation opportunity to breathe new life into Kirkby town centre. We have within our grasp the chance to halve unemployment in the area, better healthcare facilities and a new Merseytram.
Knowsley Council has carried out extensive consultations and the most recent planning application reflects the fact that they have listened to what people have said. The Council has also persuaded Everton and Tesco to make changes that address those concerns.
Kirkby as a town now faces a choice: we can leave the town to stagnate with no realistic prospect of any major regeneration for the foreseeable future. Alternatively we can choose progress and a new modern successful town bringing new jobs and better facilities for local people. I choose progress.
How the proposed development will benefit Kirkby
Since the proposals were formally submitted to the Council, there have been a number of developments which shed considerably more light on the proposals and Tesco has made a number of commitments that will bring real benefits to local people:
- Guaranteed jobs for local people – the new Tesco Extra store will provide 700 jobs for long-term unemployed people in Kirkby. This will reduce the number of local people claiming Job Seekers Allowance by at least 25% and a similar number of new jobs is expected from other parts of the development.
- Traffic and transport management – the proposals include a 4,500 space Park & Ride scheme, additional transport options including coach, buses, trains and walking routes. At least £10million will be spent on improving road junctions and a residents-only parking scheme.
- The Merseytram – these proposals have revived the prospect of a new Merseytram that will benefit all in Kirkby.
- Merseyside police – discussions are underway to locate the police Headquarters for Knowsley in Kirkby.
- A revived town centre – an unprecedented £400 million will be invested in Kirkby including the existing town centre, acting as a catalyst for sustained future investment in shops, jobs, houses, transport and leisure.
- A voice for local people – the developers, including both Everton and Tesco, have already set up a group to monitor the development to respond to residents concerns.
- Plans to re-house and compensate residents directly affected – there is progress towards a solution for residents who have to be relocated because of the development.
- A new NHS walk-in centre – the regeneration plans bring the promise of a new NHS centre based in the heart of Kirkby. Without the redevelopment, it is unclear how this could be funded.
Understanding local opinion
Over the past few months I have met many different residents groups and other representatives of local stakeholders. A summary of the meetings and responses I received can be accessed here.
This follows a significant ongoing exercise to understand local opinion and to voice people's concerns and aspirations. For example, between 23 and 25 July 07, I commissioned ICM to carry out an opinion poll of local people's views on the proposals. This revealed high awareness and a majority of residents in favour of the proposals. The full details of the poll, including all the questions and some notes about the poll are available here.
©2007-11 Rt Hon George Howarth MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Knowsley