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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Minister: Kirkby stadium revival not on agenda

Phil Woolas, Minister of State (the North West) met with Knowsley Council officials on Monday to discuss the future of Kirkby town centre following the rejection of the Destination Kirkby proposals.

Despite reports from various media outlets, he confirmed that the stadium is not on the agenda of Kirkby's regeneration: "The scheme that we are looking at for the town centre does not include a football stadium.

"What I'm saying on behalf of the government is that we're not going to abandon the need for regeneration in Kirkby just because we've been knocked back at this stage."

Everton are thought to be no longer interested in pursuing a stadium in Kirkby. The club's chief executive officer described the previous pursuit as 'divisive'.

George Howarth, Kirkby's MP suggested that the Everton stadium isn't a priority."My primary concern isn't about Blues fans, Everton, or the stadium. My primary concern is for the regeneration of Kirkby."

Knowsley Council leader Ronnie Round said: "We discussed options for how we are going to regenerate Kirkby and I felt as if we made significant progress.

"We all agreed that we need to maintain the momentum to ensure that the people of Kirkby have a town centre that they can be proud of."

Round confirmed that Knowsley are uncertain whether any future plans are likely to include a stadium: "At this stage we are not ruling a stadium in or out of the plans but our main emphasis is on regeneration."

Additionally, a statement prepared by Phil Woolas refuting the rumours that the Kirkby stadium proposals were to be revived by Prime Minister Gordon Brown was read out by Alan Jackson on BBC Radio Merseyside (1h:53m) yesterday.

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