City council seeks partner to run Croxteth Hall and Country Park

Authority wants to save £1m of annual running costs on the estate which covers more than 500 acres and features the historic Grade II-listed Croxteth Hall. Tony McDonough reports.

The Grade II-listed Croxteth Hall

Liverpool City Council is looking for a commercial partner to manage Croxteth Hall and Country Park as it looks to save £1m a year.

The estate, which covers more than 500 acres featuring the the Grade II-listed Hall, Croxteth Home Farm, a Victorian Walled Garden and the park itself – Liverpool’s largest.

It had been the stately home of the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton, since 1575, but has been in public ownership since 1972.

A report to Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet on Friday next week is recommending a partner be sought to manage the historic estate on behalf of the authority.

New investment

The proposal, which would see the park and hall remain open to the public, will aim to secure new investment, increase activities and visitor numbers and save the council £1m a year in running costs.

The city has consulted with local stakeholders and following an engagement exercise has received enough interest to provide confidence that a self-financing operation can protect the estate for future generations to enjoy.

The proposal to cabinet will not affect a £3.5m plan by Myerscough College, which provides further education to local young people on the site.

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It’s really important we get this right.

“Our experience of working with Myerscough and the Neighbourhood Services Company has taught us that working with partners can bring in more visitors and improved facilities.

“You only have to go to the Home Farm to see this. The engagement exercise helped us develop a shared vision of what kind of uses are acceptable and what aren’t.”

The city council is seeking a partner to run Croxteth Hall and Country Park

The hall and country park, which also accommodates an adventure playground, gift shop, aerial rope adventure course, horse riding centre and café, attracts in excess of 600,000 visits a year and the council has branched out to create income by promoting the hall as a setting for weddings, films, conferences, exhibitions and concerts.

‘Special place’

Stephen Guy, West Derby Society chairman, who will sit on the selection panel, said: “We hope this initiative can secure the future of Croxteth Hall.

“Many parts of this historic building, dating from Tudor to Edwardian times, are in urgent need of refurbishment.

“This is Liverpool’s own stately home and has enormous significance in its cultural history.

“The Molyneux family were in Liverpool continuously for more than 900 years – from the Norman Conquest to the 1970s.

“Hugh Molyneux, 7th and last Earl of Sefton, left the people of Liverpool a wonderful legacy which we cherish.

“The new partner must recognise the special place Croxteth Hall and Country Park hold in the hearts and minds of our citizens.”

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