Developer sows final seeds of Festival Gardens renaissance

Date: 9th June 2011

Liverpool’s new-look Festival Gardens site is ready to reopen its doors following a 3.7m restoration.

Owner and developer, Langtree, has now completed the first phase of its proposals to regenerate this once derelict 90-acre site, which is due to be unveiled to the public this summer.

The first phase of works has centred on the restoration of the former gardens and has included the creation of four new bridges, 2km of newly created pathways, 5.25 million litres of water pumped into the water bodies, 5,000 decorative pagoda roof tiles sourced from China and the planting of more than five million wild flower seeds.

Leading Japanese landscape architect, Satoru Izawa, was flown in especially 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.

Originally conceived as the centerpiece of Liverpool’s early regeneration efforts, the site was home to the International Garden Festival for five months in 1984, but a series of failed ownership changes saw it fall into significant disrepair during the following 27 years.

After an extended planning and consultation process, Langtree began works to restore the gradens early last year, with the support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The ongoing long term management of the site, which will be open to the public, will be delivered by the Land Trust working in association with Groundwork Merseyside.

The second phase of the project will see Langtree work with residential developers in bringing forward up to 1,374 new homes on 25 acres located on the area of the former Festival Hall dome.

John Downes, managing director at Langtree, said: “We believe that we are about create one of the most exciting residential schemes in the country set within a fantastic new contemporary park taking design cues from great European examples.

“Aided by a first class design team, and with the help and support of partners including Liverpool City Council, the Northwest Development Agency and the Land Trust, 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 area will complete our plans and fulfil our ongoing commitment to bring the former Garden Festival site back to life.”