Liverpool City Council has set out a 10-year masterplan for the County District Centre, the historical retail heart of the Walton community, after it was awarded £1million from the Liverpool City Region Town Centre Fund.
The city council has joined forces with the local community and key stakeholders such as Everton FC, to deliver an innovative programme based around seven kickstarter projects.
The focus of the projects is to “remember, reimagine and revitalise” the district centre of County and Walton Road, in the County and Kirkdale wards, which is situated very close to the world famous football stadiums of Goodison Park and Anfield.
The L4 community also lies just 3 miles to the north of Liverpool city centre and is connected to it by the A59 (County Road) which is currently undergoing a £4.5m upgrade.
Launched today, the seven strands of the Country District Centre masterplan 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.
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.
Everton and Everton in the Community have a track-record of community-led partnership regeneration in L4. The Club and its official charity, Everton in the Community, has invested more than £10m in bringing to life the Everton Free School and Football College, The People’s Hub, where some of the charity’s award-winning programmes are delivered from and The Blue Base – home to programmes for the elderly and disabled.
The County District Centre vision document can be found at: http://regeneratingliverpool.com/project/county-district-centre/
The public are also encouraged to email their thoughts and ideas to the County District Centre team via email at: CDCTeam@liverpool.gov.uk
Acting Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Wendy Simon 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.
“This is community-led regeneration in action and I’m delighted we have the support of key partners such as Everton FC, who have invested heavily in the area and it’s future, and Merseyside Police to underpin these projects. The artistic elements and the exciting plans for Christmas will hopefully inject some colour and hope for everyone in the area, and crucially give them back a sense of pride. Covid has clearly had a major impact on everyone’s plans over the past year, but the masterplan and these projects gives the County District Centre a route to recovery not just in the short term but for years to come.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Since I was elected, I have made it a priority to invest in and improve areas like County Road. I know it is even more important to local communities given the impact Coronavirus has had on them.
“I launched my Towns Fund to make that happen. 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.”
Richard Kenyon, Chief Executive of Everton in the Community, said: “We look forward to working alongside Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and other partners on a project that will help revitalise County and Walton Road.
“Everton and Everton the Community are deeply rooted in the Walton, County and Kirkdale communities. 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.”
Chief Constable Andy Cooke QPM said: “The creation of a dedicated County Community Police Team for businesses, residents and the community in the North Liverpool area is of course great news for those living and working there, as well as visitors.
“As a police force, it is our duty to protect the people of Merseyside, and we always target our resources where we identify issues and engage with our communities to resolve any concerns they have, reduce crime and support victims. This funding gives us a fantastic opportunity to devote a team to responding to any problems faced in North Liverpool and to listen to residents and businesses in the area.
“But we also recognise that we can’t do it alone, and that working with local authorities and other organisations at the heart of our communities is an essential part of empowering people to make choices that will benefit their own future as well as those around them.
“Stimulating the local economy, providing employment and improving community services is a vital part of giving young people in the area long term hope as well as activities in the short term that will engage them, and the benefits to the wider community of this cannot be underestimated.”
Nicola Rigby, Principal at Avison Young, who has led on the preparation of the strategic vision for County District Centre, said: “People have fond memories of County District Centre as a once bustling high street that was at the centre of community life. 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. We’re proud to be partnering with Liverpool City Council to help achieve sustainable regeneration within this important community and area of the city. We began working on this project prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the delayed launch has enabled further consultation with stakeholders and additional analysis, to ensure that the vision responds appropriately to this context.”