Garden Festival park to open this summer

Date: 14th June 2011

Publication: Liverpool Daily Post

THESE pictures reveal a sneak preview of Liverpool’s revitalised International Garden Festival as it reaches the final stages of completion.

Finishing touches are now being put to the first phase of the £3.7m development at the Otterspool site.

The festival, which was opened by the Queen in 1984 as part of a city-wide regeneration project headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine, attracted 3.4m visitors over five months, with its mix of 60 ornamental gardens from all parts of the world.

The new park is due to open its gates to the public again at the end of July.

But the Daily Post was given a sneak preview of the work, which has centred on the restoration of the neglected and overgrown gardens.

It included the creation of four new bridges and 2km of pathways.

Restorers have used 5.25m litres of water, 5,000 decorative pagoda roof tiles sourced from China and more than 5m wildflower seeds.

The site has been planted with hydrangeas, rhododendrons and willows, as well as foxgloves, ferns, harebells, meadowsweet, iris, marsh marigolds and forget-me-nots.

Leading Japanese landscape architect Satoru Izawa was flown in to support the restoration of one of the site’s original features, the Japanese Garden, which stands alongside an Oriental Garden featuring a fully restored Chinese pagoda and Moon Wall.

After an extended planning and consultation process, owner and develop Langtree began work to restore the  gardens early last year, with the support from the North West Development Agency.

The ongoing long-term management of the site will be carried out by the Land Trust working in association with Groundwork Merseyside.

The second phase of the project will see Langtree work with residential developers to build up to 1374 new homes on 25 acres around the site of the former Festival Hall dome.

John Downes managing director at Langtree said: “When we arrived last year this site was a jungle.

“The once-beautiful site was over-grown with weeds and self seeded trees.

“Bit by bit, we have worked to restore the original features. We have now completed the breathtaking transformation of the park.

“Over the next few years , the creation of a modern residential community on the 25 acres around the former Festival Hall dome will complete our plans and fulfil our ongoing commitment to bring the former Garden Festival site back to life.”