Knowsley Council offers to buy Kirkby town centre

Knowsley Council has confirmed that it has started negotiations with St. Modwen with a view to purchasing the company’s assets in Kirkby town centre.

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

The council proposal follows months of speculation about the town centre. The council is currently working with independent experts to assess the appropriate market value of St. Modwen’s assets and, once this information has been clarified, the council will make a formal offer.

Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: “This council has been calling on the private sector to regenerate Kirkby town centre for a long time, but enough is enough. 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.

“We have said before that we will look at all of the options available to us and that’s what we have done. We have never owned the shopping centre in Kirkby so buying it would be a big shift for us and a big decision to make. It would come with significant risks and challenges but we have concluded that the best chance we have to get this scheme completed would be to buy St. Modwen’s assets and deliver the rest of the improvements promised by them. Our understanding is that Morrisons, Home Bargains and the other occupiers remain committed to Kirkby, so I want people to be clear that our intention is absolutely to deliver the scheme which St. Modwen has promised. New shops, supermarket, cinema and restaurants. We are not starting from scratch.”