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Expert team appointed to shape new Festival Gardens neighbourhood

Liverpool City Council has appointed a multi-disciplinary team of placemaking experts to help create a new neighbourhood next to the city’s Festival Gardens.

The team of architects and designers will work with the Council to prepare a development brief to maximise the potential of the 28 acre site – setting out the parameters for elements such as sustainability, design, house types and viability.

The multi-disciplinary team is made up of:

• Metropolitan Workshop – an award-winning architect, urban planning and designer firm which has recently worked with the University of Liverpool.
• Shedkm – is ranked one of the top architect 100 practices in the UK and its work is rooted in socially responsive design. The Liverpool/London based company has worked on the city’s Ten Streets masterplan.
• Mace – an international consultancy and construction company, that has a global reputation in the built environment. Their ethos is one based on transformation and innovation.
• Montagu Evans – is a property consultancy which is currently helping to deliver 17,000 homes across the UK.

Once the development brief is complete, the Council will seek to appoint a development partner for this prime waterfront plot which lies just three miles south of the city centre. This exercise is expected to launch in Autumn 2024.

The two-year long remediation of the development zone – once a public waste deposit facility for more than 30 years before hosting the International Garden Festival in 1984 – has just won a national brownfield award.

The award was given in recognition of almost 500,000 cubic metres of soil and waste being excavated, of which more than 95% was recycled including 100,000 cubic metres of earth being used to create city’s newest park – the Southern Grasslands.

This radically relandscaped 24 acre green space, which now rises by more than 30 feet providing views of the city centre and River Mersey, also features more than 5,700 new trees and shrubs, as well as 2km of walking paths near to the shoreline.

The mammoth excavation programme, led by the Council’s principal contractor VINCI Building, includes an additional programme of ground infrastructure works to lay drainage and construct a substation to provide power supply for future development.

The package of works has been jointly funded by Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Homes England and OFGEM.

The project is being led by the Council’s Development and Major Projects team, part of the City Development Directorate.

Cllr Nick Small, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth and Economy, said:

“The development zone at Festival Gardens is a once in a generation opportunity – and we’re at a very critical stage in how its next chapter is shaped.

“The remediation of the site has been a monumental piece of work and has deservedly won national acclaim. The standard and quality of that work has already left a great legacy in the form of the Southern Grasslands.

“Now we need to maintain that level of quality in how we set out the parameters for the development zone and I’m delighted we’ve appointed a respected and experienced team of experts to help inform that process.

“The development brief will be key to understanding what can be delivered at this prime waterfront site and how. It’ll also help mould our decision in who we select as a development partner.

“This process will take time and I know everyone in the area has been very patient as we work to get this scheme into a viable and deliverable position. The good news is we’re at the start now of turning the vision into reality.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Festival Gardens holds a special place in the hearts of many in our area, but decades of private sector failure have left it in desperate need of ambitious regeneration. Fortunately, having a Metro Mayor work in partnership with Liverpool City Council means that we’re already starting to put that right and make a real, positive difference.

“Our funding is helping to transform the Festival Gardens into a public asset once more and laying the groundwork for new homes to be built. Rather than a forgotten wasteland playing home to dumping, this new grassland should be home to a thriving community of new homeowners.”

Following the appointment of a developer, work on the planning application for a housing scheme, with community facilities, will begin in 2025.