Kirkby regeneration plan approved by councillors

Plans for Kirkby town centre
Image caption The business community is divided over the plan

Controversial plans to regenerate Kirkby on Merseyside have been approved by councillors.

The proposals, including a new Tesco store, new shops and other improvements, were passed by Knowsley Council's planning committee.

The authority claims it will bring in more than £200m of private investment to the town.

But some members of the business community have claimed a Tesco store would harm trade for current shops.

'Bright new future'

Councillor Dave Lonergan, Knowsley Council's cabinet member for regeneration, economy and skills, said: "This decision is fantastic news for Kirkby and its community, who have been passionately committed to the regeneration of the town for many years.

"I hope that this approval will be the start of a bright new future for Kirkby - with new jobs, buildings, facilities and opportunities for the whole community to enjoy."

But Kevin Routledge, spokesman for Kirkby Traders' Association said some of his members were apprehensive about having to compete with the buying power of Tesco.

The plans were submitted last August after previous plans, which included a new stadium for Everton Football Club, were rejected by the government in 2009.

The current plans could still be called in by the government and lead to another public inquiry.

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