Cinema plans in Kirkby town centre revamp

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St. Modwen's public consultation event in Kirkby. Photo © David Purcell

St Modwen’s public consultation event in Kirkby. Photo by David Purcell © JMU Journalism

The redevelopment plans for Kirkby have finally been revealed to the public, with a new food store and cinema set to arrive in the area.

St Modwen, the site-owner, held two events in the town centre over the weekend, allowing people to look over their regeneration proposals and give feedback.

The arrival of a major food retailer had already been confirmed before these consultations, with two chain stores said to be locked in negotiations at the moment. The inclusion of a cinema was very much a surprise package, however.

Will Martin, Planning Manager (North) at St Modwen, told JMU Journalism: “We spoke to a few people about it, retailers and operators, and we’ve got some significant interest for a modest-sized scheme.

“It would be a four to six screen-type size, but with the cinema you need complementary uses to enable that development to go forward. We could be looking at two or three restaurant units on the ground floor.”

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Maps on display at the exhibitions showed that the new cinema would be positioned on the old Kirkby library site.

The first phase of development will also include 100 sq ft of retail space, with units designed similarly to the current health centre, a public art display on the rear of the new supermarket – off Hall Lane – and a new car park.

The project team said that the feedback has been “very positive,” but the reactions were somewhat mixed among those present at the launch.

St. Modwen mapping out the future of Kirkby town centre. Photo © David Purcell

St. Modwen mapping out the future of Kirkby town centre. Photo by David Purcell © JMU Journalism

Angela King, 40, from Kirkby, told JMU Journalism: “It looks absolutely amazing. I’m over the moon about the cinema, especially with having young kids myself. At the moment the ‘Towny’ is just pound shops, betting shops and I have to do my food shopping online or in Huyton. It’s just what Kirkby needs.”

A note of caution was sounded by Ryan Lowe, 18, from Kirkby, who said: “The cinema seems like a decent idea, but we’ve been promised a lot over the years and it’s all fallen through, so it’s hard to get excited.”

Steve Robson, 61, from Kirkby, said: “I’m all for a new supermarket but now they’re talking about putting houses back in the same place where they were knocked down? Ludicrous.”

St Modwen hope to submit a planning application this December, with the aim that the project will be finished and occupied by September or October 2018.

About David Purcell, JMU Journalism