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LIVERPOOL MASTERPLAN: £1m cash injection for County Road

LIVERPOOL MASTERPLAN: £1m cash injection for County Road

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A 10 year masterplan for a key high street close to Goodison Park has been launched as Everton prepares for its planned exit from the area.

County Road and the area around it will get a £1m cash injection as part of a wider Liverpool City Region plan to boost high streets across its six local authorities.

Liverpool Council said today that money funding will form part of a wider regeneration plan for the area, which struggles with high crime rates and increasing vacancies on its high street.

The plans will include grants to small businesses, the redevelopment of Spellow Library into a community hub and the development of a dedicated neighbourhood policing team.

Acting mayor of Liverpool Wendy Simon said the initial investment would act as a springboard to help regenerate the area.

She said: “There is a proud history in the County and Walton Road community that deserves a bright future – and the people who live and work there now have a golden opportunity to shape that story.

“Thanks to the Town Centre Fund the city council has been able to marshall all the key players in the area to devise a long-term masterplan and identify some creative solutions which will have an immediate impact for local businesses and residents.

“As well as the investment in the highways infrastructure, the enterprise resource, the community hub and the business fund will all help create a solid platform to provide the right tools for the community to take control of their own destiny and hopefully attract even more investment to support more start-up companies and training.

Councillor Simon said the council had been working closely with Merseyside Police, Everton and Everton in the Community to develop the plans.

The Toffees are preparing to exit their home at Goodison Park, with the council due to consider a planning application for a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock on the city’s waterfront in the coming weeks.

Everton in the Community chief executive Richard Kenyon said the club would always be “deeply rooted” in Walton, County and Kirkdale.

Mr Kenyon said: “We have been delivering programmes in the area for 33 years and in recent years, working with partners, have invested more than £10m into transforming previously derelict sites into thriving community facilities.

“This project will allow us to further extend our work with local people and help to deliver a new district centre that will bring many exciting new opportunities for people within the local community.”

The council masterplan for the area has seven “kickstarter projects”. They are:

  • The Vision – Setting the ambitions of the district centre for the next ten years.
  • Enterprise, employability and training – Creating a space for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow working in partnership with Everton in the Community.
  • Community Hub – Refurbishing Spellow Library to be a multi-service inclusive space for the community, providing Adult learning, Children services and business support.
  • Business Fund –  A small grant for businesses to improve their business, properties and re-open following Covid-19. Due Spring 2021.
  • County Community Police Team – In partnership with Merseyside Police the fund has created a dedicated police team for businesses, residents and the community.
  • Creative Community – Culture Liverpool will be working with artists to bring art, creativity and community cohesion to the District Centre.
  • Christmas on County – the fund will aim to bring a spectacular Christmas display for the community in December 2021.

Nicola Rigby, Principal at Avison Young, who has led on the preparation of the plan, said the proposals would put the needs of people living in the area at its centre.

She said: “Through the visioning work, we have explored what is needed to reinvigorate the high street to ensure that it better responds to the needs of residents and businesses, as well as having greater resilience now and into the future.

“The vision will shape, and sits across, a significant programme of activity and investment. This programme of change targeted at the high street, will put enterprise, health, wellbeing and opportunity for local people at its heart.”

The £6 million Town Centre Fund was established by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to provide up to £1 million for each of its six local authorities, to support plans to revitalise town centres across the city region.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the program, launched before the pandemic, would aid recovery on the region’s high streets.

He said: “We’re investing £1m in a range of projects to help revamp the area in the short-term and to develop plans to make it even better in future.

“High streets and town centres are at the heart of our communities, providing a hub for people to meet, shop and socialise but sadly too many have seen better days. I want us to do all we can get to get areas like County Road on the up again.”

Words: Nick Tyrrell, Local Democracy Reporter

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