The Liverpool City Region will benefit from more than 18,000 new jobs and £225m of additional investment as a result of £313m worth of Local Growth Fund investments made by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the region’s Combined Authority.
The Combined Authority meeting,on Friday, 4 June, heard how the fund was committed to nearly 200 projects before the March 2021 deadline – despite the pandemic.
Investments in Local Growth Fund Projects have already delivered 7,766 jobs and £170m in private sector investment.
Projects backed by the Combined Authority include the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre, Liverpool’s City Centre Connectivity scheme and the construction of a new train station at Maghull North – the first new station on the Merseyrail network in a generation.
Halton Curve day one Merseytravel. Merseytravel. The Runcorn Loop railway event.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“I’ve always said that devolution was about doing things differently and taking control of our own destiny. By taking power, money and decision making out of Westminster and putting it in the hands of local people, we can build the fairer, greener future we want for our region.
“The difference we’ve made through the Local Growth Fund is testament to that. In just a few years we’ve invested more than £300m in every part of our region, creating nearly 8,000 jobs and helping more than 11,000 people gain new skills. By 2025 we will have created 18,000 jobs and generated an additional £225m worth of investment in our economy.
“The result at last month’s elections was a massive vote of confidence in the impact that devolution has had in our region in a short space of time. Local people can see the impact of what we’re doing – and they want more. If the government is serious about ‘levelling up’, they have to give more funding and power to areas like ours.”
The Government awarded a total of £313m over three Growth Deals to the Liverpool City Region between 2015 and 2021 for capital projects that will benefit the local area and economy. The funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and then invested through the Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“It is fantastic to see that the Local Growth Fund investment will create 18,000 new jobs and generate more than £225m of additional investment into our City Region by 2025. Developing the Growth Plan in 2014 was the first step in devolving resource and responsibility in return for local economic leadership – and I am pleased that the LEP was at the forefront of this opportunity, working with the private and public sector, to seek freedoms, flexibilities, and influence over resources from government.
“The projects we identified such as investment in the Liverpool City Centre; building on our freight and logistics hub capabilities; our ambition to be energy self-sufficient, as well as priorities in skills, innovation and business formed the cornerstones of our Growth Plan– to ultimately create more business, more investment, more jobs and more prosperity. I am immensely proud that the vision and priorities we set out back in 2014 are now coming to fruition for the good of our community.”
The Combined Authority has used the funding to pay for a diverse range of projects that have benefitted the entire City Region.
Split between transport, skills, and business growth, the Local Growth Fund has supported nearly 200 projects across all six of Liverpool City Region’s local authorities.
Just some of the projects supported through the Local Growth Fund include:
Halton Curve -£13m LGF funds resulting in vital track and signalling upgrades allowing the curve to be brought back into full use. Maghull North –£10.7m LGF funded project delivered a new railway station including 156-space car park with blue badge and motorcycle parking facilities, as well as cycle storage. Silver Jubilee Bridge –Over £5m of LGF funds have enabled major upgrade works to Steelwork and decking as well as improved infrastructure and signage between the SJB and the Heath Business Park and Ineos Chlor, as included in the sustainable transport strategy A570 Linkway–The A570 Linkway Improvements scheme is a £5m project to improve capacity, reduce congestion and address safety issues along the A570 Linkway in St. Helens. M58 Junction 1 -£6.9m LGF funded junction upgrade. Providing additional Westbound slip roads enabling “all movements” at this very busy motorway junction. Knowsley Industrial Park–Over £4m of LGF funds have enabled highways works to improve accessibility to the Knowsley Industrial Park area. This included facilitating access to cycling and walking facilities, as well as public transport improvements. A5300 –Over £4m of LGF funding contributed to improvements at the A5300 Knowsley Express Way intersection. This facilitated better traffic flow at the intersection which serves businesses such as JLR, Alstom and provides throughfare to the Mersey Gateway Bridge. Journey time reliability and less congestion reported as benefits of this scheme. Wirral STEM Centre – £2m of LGF funding created a state-of-the-art health campus on the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone. Skills Capital Programme – £50m investment in 81 capital projects at 23 colleges and learning providers across the Liverpool City Region.
City Centre Connectivity – £37.8m of LGF funding (out of a total £40.2m CA investment) is supporting Liverpool City Council’s ongoing scheme for the city centre, aimed at improving pedestrian connectivity, managing traffic, providing attractive, safe and direct cycle routes and managing bus and coach movements efficiently. Shakespeare Rail – £7.4m LGF funding to deliver wayfinding and accessibility improvements between the Shakespeare North Playhouse site, Prescot Town Centre, Prescot Rail Station and Knowsley Safari Park. Kirkby Town Centre – A £13m investment from the LGF is supporting a redevelopment scheme for the town centre. Hythe – £3m invested in Hythe, previously called 1 Tower Road, a brand-new, sustainable, office building in Four Bridges area of Wirral Waters.
Halton Curve project was predominantly funded through the Local Growth Fund. The scheme saw the re-opening of a 1.5 mile stretch of track near Frodsham which links services from Chester onto the West Coast Mainline into Liverpool. Work to bring the track back into full use began in July 2017 was completed by Network Rail in May 2018.
The scheme made possible the first rail services to run direct from North Wales into Liverpool for over 40 years. The scheme will generate around 250,000 new trips per year, unlocking leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and North Wales.
Speaking about the scheme, Councillor Mike Wharton, Leader of Halton Council, said:
“Reopening the Halton Curve was one of our key priorities for many years and seeing direct services from Wales restart two years ago was a historic moment.
“This was a major strategic project and has unlocked economic and leisure opportunities for many people across Halton, and the wider Liverpool City Region, right through to Cheshire, North Wales and beyond.”
Kirkby Town Centre
The Combined Authority has invested nearly £13m from the Local Growth Fund to support Knowsley Council’s ambitious redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre.
Work on the new retail development in the heart of the town centre started in December 2019, just a month after Knowsley Council purchased the town centre in a £43.8m deal, supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with an initial £10m investment, followed by a further £2.8m investment in the second phase of the regeneration.
The new retail development consists of a 45,000 feet2 Morrisons superstore, a six-pump petrol filling station, a new store for Home Bargains, and Taco Bell and KFC drive-through restaurants. The site also comes with over 450 car parking spaces.
The second phase of the scheme has seen the development of a multi-screen cinema and food and beverage outlets on the site of the former Kirkby Library site.
Once the retail development scheme is complete, it will create around 500 new jobs.
Work has continued at pace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the retail development is now a very visible feature of the town centre.
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said:
“We have ambitious plans for Kirkby town centre, which plays a pivotal role in the Borough’s recovery from COVID-19 as well as helping to get our local and regional economy back on track. Support from the Combined Authority has been instrumental in making this happen. Once the retail development is open, we will move on to the next phase of our plans, which includes the delivery of a cinema scheme with several associated food and drink outlets. Our consultation event with residents and businesses last year identified a need for more retail, more food and drink establishments, and a better leisure offer including a cinema. As those residents and businesses can now clearly see, we are delivering on these priorities.”