Liverpool’s ‘cultural garden suburb’ will ‘have no equal’ in the UK, says Joe Anderson

Liverpool City Council announces at MIPIM it is seeking a development partner to turn the multi-million pound vision on the former International Festival Gardens into reality. Tony McDonough reports.

Computer-generated image of Liverpool’s proposed multi-million pound ‘cultural garden suburb’ on the banks of the Mersey

A “cultural garden suburb” is to be created on the banks of the River Mersey on the former site of the International Festival Gardens.

And Liverpool City Council is seeking a development partner to turn the multi-million pound vision into reality.

At the MIPIM international property and investment expo on the French Riviera, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson unveiled its plans for the 90-acre site which is just 10 minutes drive from the city centre.

Mayor Anderson is in Cannes leading a private sector delegation to the four-day event as the city looks to attract global investors.

The site was the location for the International Garden Festival in 1984 and there have been a number of attempts to regenerate it in the years since.

In the 1990s, one of the former festival building was turned into a leisure complex known as Pleasure Island.

The key regeneration feature of the latest plan is the 28-acre northern development zone which is being hailed as one of Liverpool’s biggest investment opportunities over the next decade with the potential to create up to 2,500 new homes.

The new homes are being marketed as of a wider mixed-use leisure and retail scheme alongside a new public open space on the present Southern Grasslands.

The city council, which took control of the site last year, appointed architects to create a draft masterplan and held a public consultation in November/December last year to gauge feedback on transforming the northern zone of the site into a major visitor and cultural destination.

Computer-generated image of Liverpool’s proposed multi-million pound ‘cultural garden suburb’ on the banks of the Mersey

Mayor Anderson, said: “We need a partner, or partners, to help realise the vision and create a cultural garden suburb which will have no equal in the UK.

“The site is fully owned by the city council and we see the Festival Park as a key component of Liverpool’s future prosperity, addressing the need for more quality homes and complementing what the city is achieving at the Knowledge Quarter and Liverpool Waters.”

Following positive feedback from the public consultation regarding a mixed use approach, maintained public access, improvements to the southern grasslands and enhanced transport links, an updated masterplan is to be submitted to the council’s cabinet in the next six weeks.

Following MIPM, at which Liverpool has sent its largest ever delegation, a set of land surveys and environmental assessments will also be undertaken before site excavation works begin.

There is a current outline planning consent for a 1,380 unit residential development on part of the site, valid until December 2022.

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