Work is set to begin on construction of a new station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby, after planning permission was granted for the £80m scheme this week.
The decision was made at the Knowsley Council Planning Committee on Thursday 9 December. Work will begin at the site in January 2022, with the opening of the station planned for Spring 2023.
The scheme is being delivered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in partnership with Knowsley Council, Network Rail, Merseyrail and Northern. Funding for the scheme has come from the Transforming Cities Fund.
The new station plans include:
The full scheme includes the extension of the Merseyrail network beyond the existing Kirkby station and will see Merseyrail services run into the new station. Northern services from Wigan and Manchester will also operate to and from the new three-platform station.
It will be the first station to benefit from battery technology on the new trains for the Merseyrail network, removing the need to extend the third rail beyond the existing Kirkby station.
The scheme is also designed to support future plans to build a new rail link to Skelmersdale, on which the Combined Authority is working closely with Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council and Network Rail to support.
The new station is a key part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s plans to deliver a London-style integrated transport system for the City Region, which aims to bring together bus, rail, ferry and active travel in one simple, affordable and easy to use transport network.
It is also aligned to Knowsley Council’s plans to improve transport access in the area for residents whilst also supporting workers and visitors to one of Europe’s largest employment sites – Knowsley Business Park.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Coming from Kirkby, I’m always proud to see the work we are doing to help get the area back on the up again. From the tens of millions that we have invested in the Townie, to the construction of this new station, it’s a great example of how we’re making a real difference because of devolution – and the ability it gives us to make more decisions locally.
“It’s fantastic news that the scheme to build a new station at Headbolt Lane has been granted planning permission. I can’t wait for work to get underway or to see the first passengers boarding trains there in 2023.
“This is just one step on the journey towards delivering my ambition for a London-style transport system that will make getting around our region quick, cheap and reliable wherever you live.”
Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Knowsley Council, said: “This is another major step forward in our ambitious plans for Kirkby. It will significantly improve transport choices for our residents as well as improving access to Knowsley Business Park and other areas of Kirkby including Tower Hill and Northwood.
“Improved transport links was something residents and businesses in Kirkby asked for when we asked ‘what makes a good town centre?’ last year. I’m delighted that we are working with our partners to deliver this priority by creating a new train station for Kirkby. I look forward to seeing work commence in the New Year and to welcoming passengers in 2023.”
Philippa Britton, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, said: “We are delighted the Mayor and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority continue to invest in the rail network for the environmental and economic benefits it brings to people’s lives.
“The new accessible railway station at Headbolt Lane – served by battery operated trains – will not only reduce CO2 emissions by taking cars off the roads, but it will also provide better rail links to employment and leisure sites within the City Region and beyond.”
Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail, said: “It’s great news that Knowsley Council has approved plans for a new station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby – moving one step closer to extending the Merseyrail network and laying foundations for further expansion in the future.
“Merseyrail aims to provide an affordable, reliable and safe train service to support the region’s growing economy. Expanding the network means that more people from more of our communities can chose to travel by train.
“We look forward to welcoming passengers to Headbolt Lane once the station opens.”
Chris Jackson, Regional Director for Northern said: “We have been working with the project team and are absolutely delighted that planning permission for Headbolt Lane has been granted.
“The new modern station will provide increased connectivity and journey opportunities for the residents of Kirkby. We will now focus our efforts into developing and introducing a timetable plan for the station.”