West Kirby has been named as one of 17 town centres to be included in an independent Town Centres Commission.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, launched the project which aims to create a plan for creating prosperous town centres.
It comes after Wirral Council announced a new master plan to improve West Kirby town centre, which would look at the future development and improvement of the Concourse, including the fire station, railway station, existing public buildings, car park and bus terminus.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We are bringing together experts from a range of sectors to help us find sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. I want this commission to help us safeguard the future of our town centres to ensure that they remain at the heart of our communities for generations to come.”
Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North and Independent Chair of the Liverpool Town Centres Commission, said: “Historically, town centres have been important for local communities, offering people a place to shop, access services and to celebrate. They are more than just streets and shop fronts but often represent an area’s history and identity.
“At IPPR North we are delighted to welcome the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Town Centres Commission as a means to support the changing role of town centres now and in the future. For too long, town centres have been on the edge of the debate about the North’s economy, now is the time to listen to our communities and businesses and work with them to build a better future in the places that matter to them.”
It is proposed that the commission will use the following four policy areas as a core focus for its work:
- How do town centres support a sense of place and belonging in Liverpool City Region?
- How can policy decisions on the environment, planning, and infrastructure best support our town centres?
- How can town centres operate as a hub for business and civil society in the longer term?
- How can town centres manage change to play a role in the future?
Commissioners have been selected to reflect a broad range of experiences and perspectives. All Commissioners serve in an individual capacity. The Commissioners are:
- Alex Singleton, Professor of Geographic Information Science, University of Liverpool
- Bronwen Rapley, Chief Executive, Onward Homes
- Claire McColgan MBE, Director, Culture Liverpool
- Cllr Pam Thomas, Councillor, Liverpool City Council
- Dan Davies, CEO, Rockpoint Leisure
- John Csizmadia, Lloyds Banking Group
- Kim Cooper, Senior Town Planner, @ideasforliverpool (Arup)
- Laura Pye, Director, National Museums Liverpool
- Liam Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Make CIC
- Phil McCabe, Federation of Small Businesses
- Sarah Taylor, Executive Director, Sefton Council
- Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North (Chair)
- Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive, Power to Change
17 town centres from across Liverpool City Region’s 6 constituent authorities have been identified for focus:
- Liverpool City Centre
- Widnes Town Centre
- Runcorn Town Centre
- Halton Lea Town Centre
- Huyton Town Centre
- Kirkby Town Centre
- Prescot Town Centre
- Southport Town Centre
- Bootle Town Centre
- St Helens Town Centre
- Earlestown Town Centre
- Birkenhead Town Centre
- Liscard (Wallasey) Town Centre
- Heswall Town Centre
- Moreton Town Centre
- New Brighton Town Centre
- West Kirby Town Centre