Council Bids for £2 million to Regenerate Prescot

By on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Former Prescot MuseumKnowsley Council has announced “exciting plans to revitalise the historic town of Prescot” by bidding to become a “Portas pilot” and competing for a cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The first bid, if successful, will give Prescot up to £100,000 as part of a government pilot project to regenerate Britain’s high streets. The project follows a nationwide review carried out by “Queen of Shops” Mary Portas in 2011. Only 12 towns will receive funding.

The admittedly negligible amount of cash would be spent partly on a “temporary ‘pop-up’ shop” in Prescot Town Centre to promote Knowsley Safari Park. A council press release added that other ideas include putting empty shop and business units back to use in a “new and different” way.

Knowsley is vying for a larger sum from the Heritage Lottery Fund, however, with £1.89 million in its sights, which it says “will support plans for the conservation area.” The proposals will “improve the town centre’s appearance, emphasising Prescot’s rich heritage as well as giving local people the opportunity for training in traditional construction and restoration techniques.”

Knowsley Chief Executive Sheena Ramsey said: “The town not only has a rich heritage but has already benefited from significant public and private investment in recent years.”

Among the achievements being touted by Knowsley Council are the new leisure facilities and a “public services centre,” which relocates Prescot Library and Museum in the Prescot Centre, alongside the One Stop Shop. The museum’s former building, a three-storey Georgian town house on the corner of Church Street and High Street, went up for sale earlier this month, with a price tag of £250,000.

The Portas bid goes through at the end of March, and the winning towns will be announced in May, when Knowsley Council and its partners submit its application for almost £2 million in Heritage Lottery funding.

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE BIDS

Photo: Sue Adair

11 Comments

  1. Jacquie

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    KMBC seem to be talking double dutch…asking for regeneration money for Prescot (good idea btw) but relocating the Prescot Museum to the Prescot Centre and selling off the historic previous location of the Prescot Museum.

    I will be watching, waiting and wondering…….

  2. Harry Doward

    Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 11:49 am

    FFS…who writes your scripts?

    Knowsley Chief Executive Sheena Ramsey said: “The town not only has a rich heritage but has already benefited from significant public and private investment in recent years.”

    who, where, when?

    If that’s the case and KMBC are all so proud of Prescot then why are you taking it apart piece by piece? Mary Portas will have a field day in those bookies, charity shops and pawnbrokers…

    Back to Lancashire ASAP please before the church sandstone ends up as crazy paving in some Kirkby or Huyton ‘regeneration’ scheme (paid for by MY council tax again)

  3. Dave63256

    Friday, April 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    There is much talk about the Portas Project bringing millions into Prescot, but my faith in the Borough Council’s ability, or even desire, to spend that much money on Eccleston Street, or anywhere else in Prescot for that matter, is very little indeed.

    The regeneration of Prescot Town Centre has ALWAYS been in the hands of Knowsley Borough Council, even without the efforts of Mary Portas. It does not really matter how much money is awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the reality is that it will do nothing to attract private investment.

    It is in the Borough Council’s power to reduce the cost of occupying premises in Eccleston Street to attract private businesses and entrepreneurs. If they really wanted to, they could, and they could do so easily, but it seems more in keeping with the way Knowsley like to run things that they would sooner have empty shops, doing nothing, and generating no revenue whatsoever for the Council, as opposed to having occupied shops, trading, creating employment, and generating a revenue for themselves, albeit voluntarily reduced.

    As I have no idea whatsoever as to what a “Pop Up” shop is, I cannot really comment on it, but the fact that it will be a temporary thing speaks volumes. It just gives me the impression that everything else that comes Prescot’s way through the Portas Project, will be exactly the same; temporary.

    Prescotian’s will take little comfort from the declaration that the money will be used to give local people the opportunity for training in traditional construction and restoration techniques. I seem to recall that the construction of the Prescot Shopping Centre many years ago was heralded as the creation of local jobs for local people, a Shopping Centre, built by the people of Prescot, for the people of Prescot. Some joke that was. Only one person from Prescot was involved in its construction, and he was on a youth work scheme.

    • prescotonline

      Friday, April 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      The Portas fund is a mere £100,000 or less, which is most welcome but hardly enough to regenerate a town in this day and age.

      I also don’t trust Knowsley Council. After all, the decline of Prescot is largely the result of over two decades of bad decision-making by KMBC.

  4. Dave63256

    Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I sit corrected. I confused the money from the Heritage Lottery Bid with the Portas funding. Given that the figures being bandied about is £100,000 or less, I have to agree with you. It is nowhere near enough to regenerate Prescot.

    Older Prescotian’s will nail the decline of Prescot to the abolition of the Prescot Urban District Council. Personally, I am more inclined to blame the people who were elected to fight for our Town as our representatives on Knowsley Borough Council. We were beginning to make a bit of a nuisance of ourselves with the election of Liberal Democrats, but as it goes, for some reason, national politics always dictates how well local politicians fare, which is unfortunate for Prescot to be honest.

    Prior to this, we always had Labour Councillors, and how ever well intentioned they were when they were elected to office, they were ineffective once they were in it, opting to sell their soul for a committee place and tow the ‘Party Line’ rather then arguing and fighting for the people who elected them in the first place. That is how it used to be, and that is how it is again. It has always been the same and it will never change under the present structure.

    I often wonder if the current crop of Labour Councillor’s for Prescot on the Borough Council could, with their hands on their hearts, tell us that they really DO support what the Borough Council is doing for Prescot. If they can, they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  5. Scotty

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Making a nuisance of yourself isn’t a virtue unless you are reasonable and rational with it.The problem with Prescot politics is the ever increasingly childish and shrill nature of local politics. It really is time for a Prescot Party that will set aside party politics and speak up for the town.

  6. Dave63256

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    What I meant when I said that we were beginning to make a bit of a nuisance of ourselves with the election of Liberal Democrats, was that with them, we did not have the ‘normality’ of an elected Labour Councillor bowing and curtseying to the powers that be on the Borough Council the second they became elected.

    At least with the Liberal Democrats on the Council, it did upset the hierarchy of Knowsley because, even if you do not agree with their policies, it did appear that we had found, and empowered, councillors with a back bone instead of electing representatives who crawl into the council chambers.

    You say that it is time for a Prescot Party. It is an interesting idea and setting a new political movement up is not such a difficult thing, although it would be something that could not be achieved overnight. What is difficult about setting up a new political party though, is the creation of a viable constitution; creating policies and membership as well as Party rules and regulations that would have to be enshrined within that constitution. Probably, the biggest difficulty of all would be raising funds. Without funding it would be fairly impossible to generate awareness of the Prescot Party. Even leafleting has a cost to it.

    I think this is the reason why so many organisations set themselves up as pressure groups rather then political movements. But even with this, the reality is that you could be the best orator in the UK with the ability to dismantle and discredit the arguments of Knowsley Borough Council, and at the same time put forward the best arguments for the Town, it will not get you anywhere because even if you elected people from a different party, as we had been doing, the numbers would be against you so there could never be any hope of any change.

    Even if a Prescot Party was created, we would only have two seats to win, Prescot East and Prescot West. Assuming we won them, it would still be 61 against 2.

    Taking Prescot out of Knowsley would be the starting point for me personally, but we need to make certain that we are not going from one bad place to another, and that is nigh on impossible to find out until we actually get there. The only way to avoid that worst case scenario would be to fight for the reintroduction of the old Prescot Urban District Council, and to do that makes your idea of a Prescot Party all the more appealing.

  7. Prescotian

    Monday, April 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Some valid points raised, I like the idea of a Prescot Party. constitutions, rules and funding are not that difficult to draft and raise.
    Leaflets?? I think you’ll find social media and the internet will be the way forward to raise interest and awareness plus a couple of huge billboards on Warrington Road would suffice to generate media coverage!! Sadly, the current political parties and those representing Prescot at a local level are too polarised to even compromise. Something needs doing – fast.

  8. Dave63256

    Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I accept that social media, such as Facebook, and other Internet activities, such as a Website, are the way forward, but unfortunately, there are three groups of potential voters who do not possess computers. I refer to the elderly, who do not want them; the less well off, who cannot afford them; and those who just hate computers, for whatever reason, and would not have one in their homes if you gave them one. These groups represent an awful lot of votes, and it could well be the difference between winning and losing an election. The only real way of communicating to these groups is by leaflet, and that has a cost to it, as does the billboard idea; it’s a good idea, but it has a cost.

    Drafting a viable constitution, policies, rules, and regulations, is one thing. Drawing up and adopting the finished article is quite another. You have to ensure that they are acceptable and attractive to everyone that matters; potential members, voters, and funders. But I have to go back to what I mentioned in my previous entry. Even if a Prescot Party came into existence, it would only be able to fight for the seats that are available in Prescot East and Prescot West. Admittedly, I got my sums wrong when I stated that even if we won it would still be 61 against 2 when there are, in fact, three seats in Prescot East and three in Prescot West. Despite my error it still doesn’t make a difference, even if you won all six seats, you would still be out-gunned 57 votes to 6. Nothing will change and Prescot will continue to be ground down.

    The only real hope that you could have of changing things for the better in Prescot would be for Prescot to get out of Knowsley and go it alone. Somehow though, I do not believe that will happen, at least not without bringing a monumental amount of pressure on the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to recommend Prescot be given independent status by the Government.

    It is not an impossible target, but it could take years to achieve. Personally, I can see no quick solutions to the problems Prescot faces because of the policies of Knowsley Borough Council, and there will be no changes to our problems for as long as they continue to treat our Town as a place to ‘save’ money rather then invest it.

  9. Prescotian

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    South Lancashire as a borough would work
    Prescot, Whiston, Rainhill, Rainford, Eccleston,Eccleston Park, Bickerstaff and surrounding villages. Nice chunk of actual Full Council Tax payers too!!
    All of the above areas feel marginalised by St Helens and Knowsley yet pay the most in….could do with some proper figures then a campaign to split away from the respective boroughs.
    Actually, I’d give St Helens the option of coming in too – It’s Lancashire afterall!
    Knowsley (what’s left of it) can then be abolished and merged into Greater Liverpool doing everyone a favour.

    South Lancashire does what it says on the tin and almost all over 35 could see the possibilities of going down that route.

    Greater Liverpool one side, Greater Manchester the other and we sit proudly in the middle without the clueless KMBC meddling in affairs.

  10. Pingback: Prescot Businesses Team up to Regenerate Town Centre | Prescot Online

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