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At its meeting on Friday, 26 July, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved up to £6 million – up to £1 million for each of its six local authorities – to support plans to revitalise town centres across the Liverpool City Region.

The Metro Mayor agreed with Leaders to commission the £6 million fund in October last year and since then the local authorities have been working up high-level investment programmes, identifying which town centres they wish to nominate, along with proposals for what they intend to do.

Those interventions include masterplan strategies, public realm improvements, physical and digital infrastructure, business support, town centre management and events and marketing activities.

The ten town centres (or district centre in the case of Liverpool City Council) identified for initial investment are:

  • Bootle
  • County Road, Liverpool
  • Earlestown
  • Halton Lea
  • Huyton
  • Liscard
  • New Ferry
  • Prescot
  • Southport
  • St Helens

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Our high streets were once the beating heart of our communities. But with the rise of new technologies and changing customer habits – they face a stark choice: modernisation or further decline.

“That is why we have introduced this £6 million fund – to reimagine and reshape what our town centres look like in the 21st century.  By working with our local authorities we can take action to ensure they thrive over the next 20 years.

“We must ensure that every part of our region prospers – and that is why we’ve ensured each borough receives exactly the same amount from this fund.”

The projects put forward by the six local authorities are as follows:

ProjectProposed activity
Halton Council
Halton Lea Town Centre Runcorn – The vision of Halton Borough Council for the town centre is focused on creating a thriving town centre that provides the need of the community, boosting health and well-being through increased opportunities for the community to be active and creating opportunities for the community to increase wealth and equality, supported by a thriving business community within a safer, stronger and more attractive neighbourhood.·     Wayfinding strategy

·     Enhanced pedestrian linkages

·     Cycling without age – Social inclusivity

·     Local Centre App

·     Roof top community garden

·     Community grants for voluntary sector

·     Children’s centre and Youth Zone

·     Community Shop

Knowsley Council
Prescot – By 2028, the vision for Prescot as set out in the masterplan is to create a thriving attractive destination with a successful evening economy for local residents and visitors, offering a distinctive mix of uses including new cultural and leisure facilities, a consolidated and reinvigorated independent based retail offer and excellent local services. The regenerated town centre will have excellent connectivity, be easy to access and provide a high quality environment whilst creating a strong sense of place.·     Developing an event strategy and delivery programme that is working towards the Borough of Culture and drives interest and attraction in our centres.

·     Create infrastructure for events to enable more cost effective events programmes

·     Commission a marketing and promotion plan for both Prescot and Huyton

·     Establish, in Prescot, at least one three or four day Major Cultural Annual Event

·     Develop a Business grant offer

·     Maker space

·     Other high street initiatives including Digital High Street, retail space incentive, shopfront support scheme, business training;

·     Improving the visitor experience and evening economy.

Huyton – By 2028 Huyton Village Centre “will be a thriving attractive destination providing new commercial, cultural, creative industry, leisure and residential opportunities that will be at the heart of the local community. The village centre will be a place where people choose to work, relax, meet, live and continue to shop, given its high quality, high tech and green environment which is strengthened by the attractive heritage assets of the surrounding area.”·     Developing an event strategy and delivery programme that is working towards the Borough of Culture and drives interest and attraction in our centres.

·     Create infrastructure for events to enable more cost effective events programmes

·     Commission a marketing and promotion plan for both Prescot and Huyton

·     Develop a Business grant offer

·     Other high street initiatives including Digital High Street, retail space incentive, shopfront support scheme, business training;

·     Improving the visitor experience and evening economy.

Liverpool Council
County Road – The possible relocation of Everton Football Club has provided an opportunity to reimagine and repurpose the district centre. The vision aims to create greater animation of the district centre and a change of image/use and footfall of the centre.·     Develop an action plan

·     Programme of locally determined interventions to animate County Road

·     A phased approach for diversification will be considered including alternative uses, residential and concentration of retail or other uses.

·     Develop a long-term masterplan

·     Establish the right local leadership to engage and manage delivery

Sefton Council
Southport – The vision for Southport is to create a “a classic seaside town that is more contemporary and dynamic, merging the old and the new; diverse in its offer; embracing creative industries, digital technology and youthful endeavour, in high quality leisure, retail, historic and public space offer for those who live in, work in and visit the town”.·   Repurposing and development of Southport Market

·   Broaden the town centre offer to a wider audience

·   Enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the Seafront

·   Reduce the no. of vacant and underused properties

·   Repair and reinstatement of historic features

·   Training and education initiatives

·   Improve the appearance and create a sense of place

·   Engagement & Local Stewardship

·   Explore other stewardship/ownership models

·   Build on and enhance local partnerships such as Southport BID and Hoteliers group and others active in Southport

Bootle – By 2030, Bootle‟s vision envisions a town centre which has been reshaped and grown its reputation as a desirable residential, education and business location. Town centre living and cultural attractions have increased, with local communities able to access excellent health facilities, and a greater range of services on their doorstop, including a much improved leisure offer.·     Diversification of the town centre (development of a creative and digital sector opportunities for Bootle)

·     Development of a Stakeholder Engagement Plan and programme for Bootle Town Centre

·     Exploration of how to develop a healthier town centre as part of the place making agenda for Bootle

St Helens Council
St Helens town centre – The vision for St Helens town centre produced in 2017 called „Transforming Our Town‟ that was built on a recognised need to increase activities such as arts, leisure and education as well as an ambitious plan to transform the urban form. The approach seeks to make the Canal (the oldest modern canal in the world) a key feature within the regeneration plans and the Council have taken active steps to bring under their ownership key sites as they move towards delivery.·     Accommodation    of     retail     configuration    and associated assets

·     Introduction of Town Centre ‘St Helens Team’

·     Contribution to redevelopment masterplan/delivery plan

·     Contribution to new public realm/art work

·     Creative use of Shop fronts

·     ‘Street ahead’ Identify key priority area in Town Centre (s) to promote business growth through business rate reductions, improvements grants and potential BID areas

Earlestown (Newton-le-Willows) – is a centre of

historical significance as the first railway junction station in the world on what is the oldest inter-city railway line. Building on the heritage of Earlestown is a key part of the plan for this Town Centre which includes a Victorian town hall and one of the oldest markets in the region as well as the railway history of the location. The proposed activities for Earlestown has the aim of creating a sustainable, modern, vibrant and attractive town centre.

·     Contribution to redevelopment masterplan/delivery plan

·     Contribution to new public realm/art work

·     Creative use of Shop fronts

·     ‘Street ahead’ Identify key priority area in Town Centre (s) to promote business growth through business rate reductions, improvements grants and potential BID areas

Wirral Council
Liscard Town Centre – The vision of re- establishing Liscard as a thriving town centre includes the reimagining of the town centre space as a sustainable, safe, well-connected, thriving town-centre, providing high quality range of services·     Commissioning an integrated masterplan to identify and support delivery of our long-term ambition for Liscard. This will support Liscard with a more extensive bid to the Future High Streets Fund.
New Ferry – The town centre will be a place of high-quality streets and open spaces that put businesses and the local community’s needs and experiences first and will comprise of a range of good quality modern homes which are designed with the community in mind – responding to local needs, trends in population change and are of quality to last and contribute to a sense of place.·     The development of a Community Land Trust (CLT) for the area.

·     High quality environmental improvements through the provision of planters, hanging baskets and public art along the pedestrianised area.

·     Identify suitable premises for CLT to operate from and suitably refurbish for housing and commercial purposes

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