In the last year, Fylde Council Regeneration Department have been working intensively with the local community, Town Council, property owners and other stakeholders to secure Government funding to regenerate Kirkham Town centre. The challenges Kirkham high street faces are significant, and transformation of the scale needed can’t be achieved without considerable investment, new thinking & new partnerships. One of the key issues is what to do about vacant and under-used high street shops which blight not just Kirkham, but town centres up and down the country. New, viable uses must be found that provide alternatives to what has been tried before. This means developing new town centre housing, creating new leisure & employment opportunities.
Around Easter this year we were delighted to receive notification that we had been successful in our bid for Kirkham to become a High Street Heritage Action Zone (HS HAZ) town and be awarded a grant of £1.8m from Historic England. With match funding from partners the overall programme is worth over £3.5m. Kirkham was in in strong competition for this funding with hundreds of market towns up and down the country and was one of only 14 high streets in the North West and of 69 nationally to be successful, so this is quite an achievement!
The HS HAZ work will focus, over the next four years, on reviving Kirkham’s historic market town through a series of heritage themed projects. The full Programme document which sets out all the plans is available here. Funding will support both the regeneration of heritage assets and the wider public realm, and the development of community based cultural activities designed to develop high streets as hubs for local cultural, retail and commercial engagement. The programme has three investment objectives that shape all activities to be carried out as part of the programme:
Complementary to the HS HAZ, we are also in the final stages of producing a Full Business Case (FBC) to the Cities & Local Growth Unit in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) under the Future High Street Fund (FHSF) programme. One of the key aspects of the FHSF is to transform town centres by re-developing and re-purposing empty high street properties. This process is not always easy or straightforward and this has certainly been the case with Kirkham. The majority of properties are in private ownership and many in the hands of absentee landlords, owned by shell companies some of whom sadly have little interest or stake in the town. Unfortunately, despite every effort, it is not always possible (as is the case with Market Sq) to reach agreements with landlords and their agents to acquire and re-develop their properties, even though they have been identified as key development sites.
However, following months of intense & complex negotiations and hard work we are pleased to announced that we have reached agreements with the owners of several key development sites in Kirkham that we believe will be absolutely transformational for the town. Details of these can be found in 'The Plans’ section on the website. We have confidence that the Final Business Case (FBC) we have produced together with our team at Bauman Lyons Architects and Avison Young, represents a game changing series of proposals for Kirkham, which if successful, will represent the biggest investment in Kirkham for decades and make it a wonderful place to live, visit, shop and work. The FBC will be submitted on Friday 14th August and we anticipate the Government will let us know on the outcome of our application by late Autumn this year. Working together with everyone as a team we will achieve our vision for Kirkham. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work. Fingers crossed!
Regeneration & Urban Design Team
Fylde Borough Council
All manner of ghostly goings on are in store as Kirkham gets ready for a spooktacular Halloween.
The period to give views on the proposed changes to Kirkham's public realm has been extended.
Kirkham’s proud history as one of Lancashire’s most important cotton towns will be celebrated through dance