Q: What is the project about?
A: The project involves the restoration of the core gardens from the 1984 International Garden Festival, combined with the provision of additional footpaths linking the site and through it to Aigburth and surrounding areas to the promenade.
Q: Who are the partners?
A: The key partners are Langtree (the developer), The Land Trust (future management), Liverpool City Council (the freehold owners) and North West Development Agency (the funders), together with Mersey Waterfront who helped champion the project
Q: What are the plans?
A: Visit ‘The Project’ section of the dedicated website.
Q: How big will the gardens be?
A: The area of the current phase of works is 11.3ha, of which 8ha are the gardens and immediate environs with the woodland trails comprising the remaining 4.3ha.
Q: How many residential properties will there be?
A: The planning consent that is in place allows for the development of a community of 800 homes. We envisage that these would be delivered in a number of phases, which we intend to start as soon as market conditions allow.
Q: How long will the project take?
A: It is anticipated that the construction phase will take approximately 15 months and that the park will reopen prior to Easter 2011.
Q: Who will be doing the work?
A: Mayfield, who are a high quality landscape contractor with relevant experience.
Q: Can members of the community help on site?
A: Opportunity for community involvement in the restoration work over the next 15 months will be limited. We are looking at way in which the community can be part of the physical works on site, including helping restore sections of the gardens. This is obviously dependant upon many factors including the programme of works, health and safety and the nature of the works required.
However community involvement will be actively encouraged once the site is open to the public.
Q: Will trees be felled as part of this process?
A: Tree felling will be required both to facilitate construction of the approved scheme and as part of the ongoing woodland management. Although areas of clear fell will be kept to a minimum and only occur in two locations, at the main entrance and connection to the promenade. All works will be carried out in consultation with Liverpool City Council and will be actively monitored by the appointed Tree Officer.
Q: Why don’t you transplant the trees elsewhere?
A: Due to the original species of trees selected, the density of planting and lack of woodland management over the years it would not be a viable exercise. However, any young oaks that can be will be transplanted, should the need arise.
Q: What has been done to mitigate habitat disturbance?
A: An action plan is being prepared between Liverpool City Council, Planit (the landscape architects) and their Ecologists.
Q: Has a species survey been undertaken?
A: Yes, for the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Public Enquiry.
Q: How will the gardens look?
A: The gardens are primarily a restoration project. The main features, such as the Japanese and Chinese Pavilions and the water cascades, will now sit in amongst carefully retained trees and shrubs that have developed over the past twenty years, providing a maturity to the scheme that has never previously existed. The woodlands will be carefully managed with pathways restored and an additional DDA compliant route will be provided linking the park and ultimately all the way through to St. Michael’s station - all this within a mature woodland setting.
Q: Why do we need housing on the site?
A: The long-term future management of the gardens is directly linked to the value generated by the residential development. The residential development also brings natural security and animation to the gardens and in so doing will be a major deterrent to anti-social behaviour.
Q: Will the Gardens be open for everyone?
Q: Will there be parking on site?
A: Yes. Part of the restoration project is to refurbish the existing car parking area on the southern grasslands. Half of the existing car park will be reinstated opening up the existing access road for vehicular access for visitors and connected to the parks new southern entrance by a DDA compliant route.
Q: How many people do you envisage visiting and how will this be managed on the surrounding rounds?
A: Given the site’s past as a highly successful International Garden Festival, the quality of the new park being created and its location on Liverpool’s waterfront, we anticipate that the park will attract a significant number of visitors. People will be able to access the park on foot or cycle, by bus along Riverside drive, by train from St. Michael’s station and by car using the local road network. This should keep any adverse impacts on the local community to a minimum. Indeed, the high visitor numbers will help make the park and surrounding area a safer more welcoming place.
Q: What will happen to the legacy of the Festival activity – Pagodas, Blue Peter Slide etc?
A: The pagodas from the Japanese and Chinese gardens will be restored and incorporated within the new park. Other relic features will be moved and restored if practicable. We have employed a specialist engineer who will prepare schedules of work sensitive to the unique nature of the structures.
Q: Will you be closing the Promenade?
Q: How are you going to be keeping everyone informed?
A: During the restoration work the partners will keep the public informed in a number of key ways. Amongst other things there will be a dedicated website and a series of drop in sessions open to all where the public can come along, see the plans, meet the partners and ask questions.
Q: How can I ask questions?
A: Through any of the above mechanisms.
Q: Can I see the site now?
A: No, but it is our intention that controlled access will be available to selected groups throughout the contract.
Q: Who is paying for this project to go ahead?
A: The North West Regional Development Agency has funded £3.7 million for the restoration of the gardens. Langtree retains the long-term interest and liability for the site and is ultimately for all aspects of the Festival Gardens.
Q: Will there be any superlambananas on site?
A: There are no plans to site any superlambananas in the new park. However, it is expected that it will become a suitable location for sculptures and other pieces of public art.
Q: Are you restoring the Dome?
A: No. The Dome was demolished during 2007 when the site was earmarked for redevelopment.
Q: What activities will be available when it’s finished?
A: The new restored gardens will be principally an area for quiet relaxation and enjoyment; people will be able to visit the newly restored oriental gardens, to relax by water bodies and to enjoy the views from the top of the wooded mound. An informal play area will also be provided within the park.
Q: Can I have a job on site?
A: During the restoration phase, any jobs created will be through the main contractor, Mayfield. Once the new park is open to the public further jobs will be created through the managing agent appointed to manage the site on a day-to-day basis.
Q: How will this disrupt my property?
A: In the short-term there may be some minor disruption owing to contractors’ vehicles accessing the site. However, we strongly believe that in the long term the effect on adjacent properties will be wholly beneficial.
Q: Where will the works vehicles access the site?
A: The existing entrance off Riverside Drive opposite Promenade Gardens. Contractors’ vehicles will access the site through the main gates and across the former Dome area, keeping clear of the promenade and pedestrian routes.
Q: How will you stop anti-social behaviour on site?
A: Controlling anti-social behaviour will be the responsibility of the contractor during the restoration works. Once the park is open to the public it will be the responsibility of the appointed managing agent.
Q: Will I still be able to walk on the existing rights of way?
A: Yes. All existing rights of way will be maintained throughout the course of the project.