Council prepares to appoint specialist team to market Festival Gardens site

Development zone at Festival Gardens site

Liverpool City Council is preparing to appoint a multidisciplinary consultant team to help create a development brief for the Festival Gardens site on the River Mersey.

The site once formed part of the International Garden Festival celebrations launched by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984.

Work to remediate 22-acres of the site is nearing completion after a complex two-year excavation programme costing around £45m.

This mammoth work saw the derelict land – which hadn’t been touched for 25 years – completely excavated, removing more than 380,000 cubic metres of soil and waste. The majority of this excavated material (95%) has been recycled and saved from landfill.

And now that remediation is nearing completion the council is seeking to appoint a consultant team to assist it in preparing a development brief for the residential-led redevelopment.

The brief will set out the council’s aspirations to create a thriving, sustainable, healthy and inclusive new neighbourhood for south Liverpool with a strong identity and sense of community.

When a partner has been appointed, they will work closely with council officers to produce a development brief which will then be advertised to the market. A high quality and experienced development partner will then be procured to lead on the development for this renowned waterfront site.

The Liverpool Festival Gardens site, which lies three miles to the south of the city centre, is split into three distinct zones:

• Development Zone – 28 acres incorporating the former ‘Pleasure Island’ dome, plaza and waterfront bund

• The Gardens – 25 acres of Oriental Gardens set around a sizeable landscaped mound with large surface car park remaining from Festival Gardens

• Southern Grasslands – 37 acres of former Festival Gardens land that has self-seeded

The Development Zone, part of which was a former landfill site, once formed part of the International Garden Festival celebrations.

Liverpool’s cabinet member for growth and economy, Cllr Nick Small, said: “This is a major step forward in transforming this iconic location and bringing to life our vision of creating a brand new community, with a range of housing types and tenures, ancillary facilities and a high quality, desirable public realm area.

“The work undertaken to date to reach this milestone should not be underestimated, but our focus has been on getting everything right as we need to future-proof this land and make sure it’s fit for purpose for generations to come.”

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